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Oregon coast town tells tourist crowds to leave

Oregon coast KPTV
Despite COVID-19 and pleas for people to stay home except for essential needs, tourists flocked to the Oregon coast on Saturday

WARRENTON, Ore. (KPTV) – Despite Oregon Gov. Kate Brown calling on all Oregonians to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, the Oregon Coast and Columbia River Gorge were packed with people Saturday. And at least one coastal town had a stern message to the tourists: Go home.

Social media was filled with pictures showing traffic headed to the coast and crowded beaches at a time when spring break usually would be underway.

The city of Warrenton sent a strong message to those planning a trip: Stay home. They worry many who live on the coast have is that COVID-19 will show up. Currently, no cases have been reported in that part of the state.

The city declared a state of emergency, banned camping and ordered campgrounds to close. The city also prohibited short-term rentals, home stay lodging and told hotels to close, with some exceptions, and told people there to leave within 24 hours

“Stay home. Don’t come here. You are not welcome of the period during this crisis,” Warrenton Mayor Henry Balensifer said.

His concern was the grocery stores on the coast were being overrun with tourists and depleting shelves already running low. Another concern is the medical system on the coast being able to handle and outbreak of COVID-19.

“We have to take care of our own, first and foremost,” Balensifer said. “I can’t take care of everybody else recreating, people. This is not a time to recreate, except for in your town.”

In the Lincoln City area, Larry Richardson told Fox 12 the crowds began to show up Friday.

“There are people all over the place,” Richardson said. “It’s one o’clock in the afternoon, and here is all these hundreds and hundreds of people acting like they are on a vacation, on a holiday.”

The KOA in Warrenton sent a letter to the city. In it, they wrote they were receiving threats because of the mayor’s proposal. The campground said they were taking all precautions and following CDC and state guidelines.

Meanwhile, in the Portland area, a group of 25 mayors urged Gov. Kate Brown to issue a stricter, "stay at home" quarantine order, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. They want the governor to issue a travel ban and prohibit all gatherings.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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