Lincoln County Commissioners ask tourists to stay away, for now

Commissioner Kaety Jacobson delivers a statement on Sunday, in which she asked tourists to postpone visits to the area until the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

NEWPORT – In a video statement released Sunday, Lincoln County Board of Commissioners Chair Kaety Jacobson asked tourists to postpone plans to visit the area and requested that current visitors return home.

“We are in the midst of a crisis unprecedented in our living generations. Actions that we take now will have consequences for months and years to come,” Jacobson said, speaking on behalf of commissioners.

“Many of our businesses have already sacrificed greatly to keep Oregonians safe. Our local community has also, to a large degree, acted upon Gov. Brown’s ‘stay home, stay healthy’ directive. Unfortunately, we have had many visitors show up on the Oregon coast and in Lincoln County contrary to this directive and the advice of public health authorities. This puts our communities, our citizens and our limited resources at great risk,” she said.

“We are asking those of you who have plans to visit the Oregon coast to please postpone this plan until after the crisis is over. We will welcome your business then. To those visitors who are already here, please return home now.”

Jacobson said commissioners would convene a joint meeting on Monday, March 23, with city officials from throughout the county to address the risk that out-of-town visitors pose, noting that some communities on the coast have already taken formal action to deter tourists. Warrenton passed a resolution on Saturday effectively making it illegal for visitors to stay in the city overnight.

Also on Sunday, Oregon State Parks announced they would close all facilities at end of day March 23, citing “clear signs that travelers are not following advice to avoid full parks.” Beaches will remain open, for now, though the statement from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department notes it has the authority to close them and will do so “if social distancing practices are not followed.”

Jacobson's full statement can be viewed here