The news cycle feels grim now, but there are bright spots of hope if you know where to look.
Yes, hotels are quiet, restaurants are struggling, and folks are wondering whether to cancel vacations (we’re hoping you put that Bend vacation on hold to keep everyone safe) to stay home building toilet paper forts. Some are asking how they’ll pay for groceries, while others ask how they can help.
I don’t have answers to most of those, except the last one: Kindness. Here are 10 ways to spread some, while practicing social distancing and being mindful of those around us.
Try some tasty takeout
With Oregon’s governor ordering all bars and restaurants to halt on-site dining starting March 16, Bend eateries have had to get creative with takeout and delivery options.
Want your favorite Bend dining spot to weather the storm so they’re around when the dust settles? Go here to peruse lists of Bend restaurants offering meals to go. There’s even a handy map function so you can find what’s closest to you.
You can also check this link on the I Love Bend Facebook page, where local eateries are posting specials, hours of operation, and even free meals for those in need.
Right now, Downtown Bend is relaxing parking rules and adding pickup zones to make it easier for folks to get grab-and-go food. Learn more here.
Don’t forget to tip
Folks in the hospitality industry are in limbo now, so tipping is more important than ever. Yep, even for takeout orders, since someone had to package up all that yummy goodness for you. Tip as generously as your budget permits, since it could mean the world to that waitress worried about feeding her kids.
Buy gift cards
Restaurants aren’t the only Bend businesses having a tough time, as plenty of shops, tour operators, massage therapists, museums, and more have had to shutter their businesses to keep coronavirus from spreading. Lend a hand by snapping up gift cards. Our holiday gift guide is an excellent source of ideas.
Keep yourself (and others) safe
From school closures to social distancing, the landscape keeps changing in this era of Coronavirus crisis. To make it easier to find updated info, Visit Bend created a Coronavirus Toolkit. There, you’ll find links to everything from the CDC website to news from the City of Bend.
Stay informed about what’s expected of you in terms of quarantine and general hygiene. It’s up to all of us to limit the spread of the virus and keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Be nice, you’re in Bend
Tension is running high for everyone, so now’s a great time to show grace for your harried fellow citizen. Say thank you to the guy bagging your groceries. Let someone go in front of you in line at the store. Smile at folks you pass (at a safe distance!) on the hiking trail. Look for little ways to be the bright spot in someone’s day.
Do good deeds
Got a little extra time on your hands right now? Find ways to help others make it through this crisis. Shovel snow for a neighbor or offer to pick up a prescription for an immunocompromised acquaintance. If your co-worker is in quarantine, offer to walk his dogs.
Visit Bend’s own marketing VP, Nate Wyeth, created this handy little card you can use to offer aid to others. Print off a batch and check some boxes, then take them around the neighborhood to spread the love.
Adjust your spring break plans
Maybe you had visions of the perfect spring break. You’d take the kids skiing at Mt. Bachelor and then to the High Desert Museum before heading out to dinner at a family-friendly Bend restaurant. Making the decision to stay home and safe now will ensure you can do all of that again in the future.
While those plans will need to change, there’s no reason you can’t still have fun in Bend at a later time. Bend’s status as the outdoor playground of the West means we have zillions of wide open trails for hiking and biking that will be here when this is all over. While you’re at home, remember that Health authorities have given their blessing on grabbing a bit of fresh air, so take full advantage of that.
If you’re a visitor stuck here self-quarantining in your Bend hotel or vacation rental, snap up a family meal kit from locally-owned Riff Cold Brewed (Bonus feel-good points: They’ve partnered with the Central Oregon Council on Aging to get free meals to Bend’s most vulnerable community members). Then cozy up by the fire with a board game and enjoy some good old-fashioned family bonding. You might not go home with the same photos, but you’ll bring home memories.
There are other tech-savvy ways to make the most of your isolation. The Deschutes Historical Museum offers a free app that’ll guide you through a “Cruisin’ Tour” you can do from the safety of your car, while the High Desert Museum is generously keeping us fueled with cute videos of their critters.
Look for the positives
If you’re spending time on social media, it’s easy to get caught up in grim news. Want to feel a little better about the state of the world? The Pandemic Partners Bend Facebook page is packed with stories of neighbors helping each other (not to mention ideas for how you can get involved).
There are also little bits of positive news everywhere, like Mt. Bachelor offering free groceries for all employees or the kind folks at Greg’s Grill delivering free lunch to the hardworking staff at Bend Grocery Outlet. Meanwhile, Oregon Spirit Distillers created their own hand sanitizer, which they’re offering free to those who need it.
Charity organizations like The Giving Plate are working tirelessly to ensure families are fed and people don’t go hungry during this challenging time. Drop off a bag of food or make an online donation to help lighten the load (and make yourself feel good in the process).
Boost your Bend spirit from home
Keeping your spirits up while stuck at home can be challenging, but there are ways to serve up doses of Bend spirit even in your living room.
With gyms closing down to help halt the spread of Coronavirus, folks are getting creative for fitness. Bend-based Groove Yoga has started offering live-streamed yoga classes that anyone can attend.
Need a taste of Central Oregon wildlife? The Golden Eagle Cam near Whychus Creek gives you a live glimpse of these majestic birds, all from the comfort of your home.
Breathe (but not on each other)
It sounds cliche, but remember to breathe. As long as you’re practicing good hygiene and not breathing on anyone, it can be a positive way to relieve anxiety and keep your spirits high. Preserving your mental health and well-being is not only great for you, but for those with whom you’re sharing space as you self-isolate. Here are a few breathing exercises you can try.
Plan for the future
While Visit Bend has suspended advertising for now and is asking you to stay home, you can still peruse our website at Visitbend.com to get inspiration for your next vacation.