Stay safe. Stay home. Save lives.
Is it weird for a tourism bureau to beg you not to travel? Probably.
But these are weird times we’re living in, thanks to Coronavirus and the risk of COVID-19.
Most of us had never uttered phrases like “social distancing” or “shelter in place” last month, and now we’re hoarding TP and bathing our children in vats of hand sanitizer.
At the heart of it all is the urge to stay safe and healthy while wishing the same for our families, friends, communities, and our environment. Here are 5 ways you can achieve that whether you’re hunkered down in Bend or anyplace else.
In case I wasn’t clear enough at the beginning, I’m begging you—please stay home. If you were planning a spring vacation in Bend, I realize this sucks. I cancelled my own family trip to the Oregon Coast, and I’m not feeling great about our odds of pulling off our long-planned European vacation in June.
But right now, it’s crucial that we do everything in our power to keep this thing from spreading. Please follow Governor Brown’s executive order and stay home right now.
If you need up-to-the hour info about what’s happening #InBend and Central Oregon with the Coronavirus, this page on our website is currently being updated about 3,982,603 times per day.
Get your fresh air with caution
Bend’s outdoorsy lifestyle is the thing most of us love best about it, and for now the health authorities say it’s still okay to play outdoors. But social distancing is key, and if you can’t keep at least six feet between yourself and other users, it’s time to find a new sport.
Hiking? Sure, but choose less congested pathways and do not go out in groups. Now’s the time to keep it simple with only members of your immediate family and plenty of space between you and other hikers.
Biking? Skip the singletrack for now, guys. There’s no way to safely social distance, and irresponsible cyclists have been carving new trails over tender young trees and fragile landscapes. That’s no bueno for the environment, so knock that crap off if you’re doing it. For now, stick with trails right out your front door or wide open spaces like Forest Service roads that are perfect for gravel cycling.
And if you’re considering something like rock climbing, snowmobiling, or naked bull riding to get your outdoor fix, put those spurs away. Local hospitals have their hands full, so it’s our job to keep our butts out of the ER and save those beds for folks who really need them.
Know where to go
I get it, it’s tough to keep up with regulations about where you can be and what’s open. The info changes constantly, and while playing pickleball with my family might have felt okay a couple weeks ago, I literally laughed out loud when my teen asked yesterday if we could go play (and for the record, Bend Parks and Rec has closed all sports courts, playgrounds, and skateparks anyway).
Again, I’ll refer you to the special Coronavirus page on Visit Bend’s website, which is updated constantly with new info.
In a nutshell, Oregon State Parks are currently closed, as is Crater Lake National Park. Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland have temporarily closed all developed recreation sites, including campgrounds, day-use sites, boat ramps, trailheads, Sno-Parks, fire lookouts, and OHV areas. Ditto that for BLM land, including all campgrounds and some day use sites, though visitors may continue to enjoy BLM managed trails and open spaces in Oregon while following recommendations from the CDC and public health authorities. Ski areas are closed, too. Ditto that for public restrooms in many areas.
Oh,and remember what I said about the rules changing constantly? I won’t be surprised if we see lots more outdoor spaces closing to the public in the coming days. Stay up to date on current info, then play it safe and just stay home.
Support local businesses safely
Because you all are a bunch of rockstars, I know many of you are wondering how you can support local businesses so they survive to see the other end of this thing. But how can you do that safely?
Buying gift certificates is one easy way to provide Bend businesses with an influx of much-needed funds and yourself with the hope of enjoying a great meal or tour once this thing passes. If you need ideas, check out our holiday gift guide.
If you’re already in Bend and have a hankering for grub from your favorite eatery, check our restaurant listings to see who’s offering takeout and delivery. Just a reminder, all restaurants are closed for in-house dining, so it’s the takeout keeping everyone afloat right now.
If you absolutely must go out for groceries or pet food or a trip to the cannabis shop or liquor store (no judgement), please keep your outings to a minimum. Once a week or less is ideal, and don’t bring the whole fam. Do bring plenty of hand sanitizer, and for the love of all things holy, do not touch your face.
Limit your exposure and that of everyone around you. It’s the only way we’ll get through this.
Dare to dream
Right now I know we could all use a dose of inspiration and hope. That’s why Visit Bend’s Facebook page and Instagram feed are still filled with pretty pictures of lakes and sunrises you’ll be able to see again before you know it.
In the meantime, why not build a Love List of all the fun things you want to see and do on your next Bend adventure? We’ll be here waiting for you when this is all over. We’ll even dole out the hugs again just as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Planning your trip? Start with your award-winning visitor guide, available online or by mail.Read the Guide
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