PORTLAND, Ore. — This Memorial Day weekend, Oregon's governor and dozens of mayors from across the state are asking people to "stay local to stay safe."
“We want this Memorial Day weekend to be quiet, slow and safe,” said Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones. “We're not looking for guests in our community this Memorial Day weekend, we can't wait until next Memorial Day weekend.”
Jones was one of 26 mayors from cities across Oregon who joined Governor Kate Brown in asking Oregonians to stay local over Memorial Day weekend, instead of visiting other cities. Besides that, the governor's Phase 1 reopening guidelines called for keeping non-essential travel to a minimum.
"If you love the coast, stay home for now and plan your trip in the summer," read a group statement issued by the Governor and participating mayors. "If you love the Columbia Gorge, keep it local this weekend and visit later on. If you love Central Oregon, it'll still be there in a few weeks."
Their reasons were clear: Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and don't undo the progress that took months to make.
“None of us have a magical protective bubble around our communities,” said Jones. “We know that the virus is out there and we know the only reason we haven't had severe outbreaks, hospitalizations and even deaths in Astoria is because we've been very careful.”
Hood River Mayor Kate McBride also signed the Governor’s letter. She said Hood River's Waterfront Park is closed and many restaurants are refraining from offering sit-down service, despite being able to now under Phase 1 allowances.
“There are a lot of things that are not open,” said McBride. “Eventually we'll be ready, but we're really not ready for a big influx of people to be coming at all.”
Hotels in Cannon Beach and Seaside will reopen to the public May 26, that's right after Memorial Day weekend. Hotels in Astoria will reopen June 6. At that time, Jones said he would be more comfortable with out-of-town guests.
“We can't wait for the day that we welcome visitors back,” said Jones. “But it's not Memorial Day weekend.”