Message from the outdoors to Oregonians: stay home for now

April 11, 2020

Sunny, warm weather typically sends Oregonians out in droves to their favorite outdoor recreational destinations. However, the message from state leaders, health care workers, and those on the front lines responding to the COVID-19 outbreak is: please continue to stay home to save lives … even when it’s sunny.

State parks, many federal trailheads, and all private and public recreational campgrounds are closed to prevent people from congregating and to protect the staff that maintain these areas. Some local parks are still open, but physical distance of at least six feet needs to be maintained to stay safe. Whether indoors or outdoors, the virus can still be easily passed from person to person, even if individuals are not showing symptoms.

All non-essential travel (such as for boating, hunting, or fishing) should be short and minimal, if at all. Oregonians who do not live at the beach should not travel there; most public access points are closed. Minimizing travel will lessen the chance of spreading COVID-19, especially to rural communities that do not have the hospital capacity to treat an influx of patients from other parts of the state.

Visiting a closed area poses a danger to the visitor, the limited park staff, and the area itself. Parking and restrooms are closed and trash collection has been suspended. Parking illegally may result in a citation or your vehicle being towed.

For now, the best way to get outside while keeping yourself and others safe is to stick close to home:

  • Backyard picnics on the lawn or patio with those in your immediate household
  • Walks or jogs in your neighborhood while maintaining physical distance
  • Gardening, washing your car, or just soaking up the sunshine in your yard

It is crucial for the health and safety of Oregonians to follow Governor Brown’s directive to stay home in order to save lives. The most recent projections show that, if Oregonians maintain current social distancing measures, the state will slow transmissions significantly and help Oregon hospitals meet demand. Now is a critical time to stay the course so we can continue this progress.

Chris Havel, Joint Information Center, 503-931-2590

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