Posted on: May 27, 2020
May 27 City of Eugene Community Update – COVID-19
Good morning Eugene,
There has been slow and steady progress to safely reopen in the last two weeks. Since we entered Phase 1 of Governor Kate Brown’s reopening plan, local businesses are starting to reopen under new circumstances and community members are able to gather in small groups with physical distancing.
Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said last week in a speech that working together has helped us get this far, and it will help us continue down a path of progress.
“Please understand that this is a team effort,” Vinis said. “We are all in this together and have a responsibility to one another.”
We are encouraged to see businesses open their closed doors with provisions in place for physical distancing. The return of childcare to our Rec centers and the offering of summer camps is a positive sign, too.
As we return to public places we should be mindful of protocols in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19. We want to thank everyone for being safe over Memorial Day Weekend and also remind people that while businesses and restaurants are starting to open, we aren’t out of the woods yet and it’s only through constant vigilance that we can move toward Phase 2.
Local Businesses Update
An anecdote from a local business owner
Since the beginning of the pandemic the City and its partners have worked closely with local business owners. The following is just one example of what we’re hearing in the community about the challenges people and businesses are facing.
Falling Sky owner Rob Cohen reopened a part of his business in early May, but he and other Eugene brewpub and restaurant owners face a challenging future.
After being shut down for seven weeks, Cohen’s Falling Sky Delicatessen, 790 Blair Blvd., reopened on May 1 for takeout and delivery business only. Falling Sky Brewpub on Oak Alley remains closed, as does Falling Sky Pizzeria in the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union.
Cohen says owning a business such as his during the COVID-19 pandemic is “perilous.”
“It’s like walking in slow motion, blindfolded, down a plank in a windstorm without knowing if there is anything on the other side,” he said. “Without a (COVID-19) vaccine very soon, the short-term outlook for brewpubs and restaurants like us seems very bleak.”
The March shutdown threw 49 Falling Sky employees out of work. Reopening the deli restored 17 jobs.
The state’s reopening guidelines for dine-in service require social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures. But Cohen said he is not ready to offer that option for the following reasons: He worries about the risk of infection for staff and customers; his employees would have to enforce social distancing, which could be a problem with transients who often attempt to use the deli’s bathroom; and it’s unknown if there would be enough demand for dine-in service to cover the cost of added employees.
Cohen was able to reopen the deli with financial help from the U.S. Small Business Administration – a $10,000 grant and a Paycheck Protection Program loan – plus flexibility from vendors, landlords and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Falling Sky received the Paycheck Protection Program loan with help from Summit Bank, which has been “amazing to work with throughout all of this,” Cohen said. “It has reaffirmed my belief in local banking.”
We’re here to help local businesses
The City of Eugene has created a specialized team to help support local businesses as Lane County continues Phase 1 of the Governor’s Reopening Oregon plan. Learn about the many ways the City is supporting local businesses and how we can help.
For businesses that may need additional space to meet physical distancing requirements, this could include access and use of outdoor space surrounding their premises. For example, a restaurant can offer seating on the adjacent sidewalk. The City is actively working to streamline that process, while exploring options to convert on-street parking spaces to seating, an idea called a ‘streatery’.
Each situation is unique and comes with opportunities and challenges, which the City will be working through as we reopen together. Local businesses can email the team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eugene Rec announces registration date for youth summer camps
We are looking forward to helping make your summer the best it can be. We are excited to announce Eugene Rec will be offering summer camps starting June 22. Summer Camp registration will begin at 9 a.m. June 8 and you can go to Rec’s online registration portal to set up an account, and registration will also be available over the phone or in person Amazon, Sheldon or Petersen Barn community centers. Look for more information coming your way by the end of May. We are hard at work planning for camp modifications to keep your kids safe and healthy including physical distancing, mask wearing and diligent sanitizing. Because these safety measures will include having smaller groups of campers, we appreciate your understanding that we expect enrollment capacity to be limited.
Childcare programs are also now running at Sheldon, Amazon and Petersen Barn community centers. Call 541-682-5312 for information and registration for child care.
Pools currently remain closed during Phase 1 of Lane County’s reopening. We are working on how we might safely begin swimming lessons and lap swimming at Amazon Pool during Phase 2. Sheldon Pool will remain closed, as current guidelines do not allow indoor pools to operate during Phase 2. Echo Hollow Pool will remain closed until renovations are complete later this year.
Facility rentals, fitness classes and other Rec programming will gradually begin to restart; stay tuned for more information. We plan for the limited and gradual reopening of all our community centers after the start of Phase 2 except for Campbell, which is still undergoing renovations.
We have missed recreating with you and are excited to begin welcoming you back! We will keep you posted on our reopening news on our website and through future emails.
When do we move into Phase 2?
After 21 days in Phase 1, counties continuing to meet the prerequisites MAY be able to enter Phase 2. Lane County’s ability to progress to Phase 2 relies on all of us working together and following all safety guidelines outlined for our gradual reopening.
The County entered Phase 1 on May 15, so the earliest it could be allowed to move into Phase 2 would be June 5. Stay tuned for more information next week about the process.
Learn More About Reopening Oregon
Previous Community Update
- COVID-19 Community Update (May 20, 2020)
To wear, or not to wear a mask, that is the question…and a burning one because without clear, unequivocal instructions we feel lost. Don’t you feel utterly confused when our commander in chief tells us to wear masks but refuses to follow his own lead?
As a surgeon, I spent half of my professional life wearing surgical masks. You get used to it pretty quickly. Surgical crews wear these masks to protect patients from all kind of bugs coming from our mouths with each uttered word, breath, cough, or sneeze. This situation is simple and straightforward.
The current development, on the other hand, presents many more challenges and unknowns. Challenges that most of us, myself included, never experienced before. To whom should we listen? Medical professionals like Dr. Fauci or self-serving politicians? For me, the answer is obvious:medical professionals.
The medical professionals are finally in complete agreement. Everyone should wear a mask in public spaces and practice social distancing – there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it!
Here’s the thing, when you have a full blown disease, the course of action is clear. Isolate yourself at home and go to a hospital if your condition deteriorates. However, the majority of people infected with COVID-19 have very mild, indistinct symptoms. What should they do?
Take the future king of Great Britain for example. Prince Charles strictly obeys the doctors orders. “Having recently gone through the process of contracting this coronavirus, luckily with relatively mild symptoms, I now find myself on the other side of the illness but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation,” he said.
Some people don’t experience any symptoms at all, and Typhoid Mary, the obstinate cook, immediately comes to mind. It is believed she had infected 51 people with typhoid fever (3 of whom died) because she refused to acknowledge she had the disease and didn’t cooperate with medical authorities.
Mary became the first individual in the United States identified as an asymptomatic (silent) carrier of the disease in the early 20th century, and she was compulsorily quarantined for 16 years.
Since there is a dire shortage of COVID-19 tests in the United States, everyone should act as if they are silent carriers and take necessary precautions: social distancing, wearing a mask, and religiously washing hands.
“CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.”
The virus can linger on surfaces for up to:
72 hours – plastics
48 hours – steel
24 hours – cardboard
Also, the virus can be detected in the air for up to 3 hours.
Granted, it is tough to follow all the above mentioned precautions, but we have no other choice if we want to stop the spread of the disease faster and avoid many unnecessary infections and deaths. Please, for the sake of your health, the health of your loved ones, and everyone in our community, always wear a mask when out in public.
Aimee Yogi, Eugene Springfield CERT Trainer
Our community is in the midst of worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
The nature of this crisis mandates very little contact in public. Social distancing, masks and gloves have become part of our social interactions. Activities outside the home are limited to essential errands and appointments. What distinguishes this disaster from other massive natural disasters is this mandated isolation. The change in routine, lack of social supports, financial problems, confinement, lack of activities outside the home, online classes – all contribute to the anxiety and stress of an already fearful pandemic.
How do we manage the isolation and stress? How can we take care of ourselves, for our own safety, in order to help our neighbors and community? Here are some tools and strategies that can be used to alleviate anxiety and help us to provide aid to our neighbors. The goal is to build personal and community resilience.
FEMA’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Student Manual provides the Psychological First Aid tools described here. These simple steps can be used and shared to maintain mental health in a disaster.
Here are possible physical symptoms you may experience or observe in others:
• Loss of appetite
• Headaches or chest pain
• Diarrhea, stomach pain, or nausea
• Increase in alcohol or drug consumption
• Nightmares, inability to sleep
• Fatigue or low energy
Here are psychological symptoms:
Emotional: nervousness; helplessness; shock; numbness; inability to feel love or joy; feelings of abandonment; agitation; depression; grief; feelings of detachment; exhilaration as a result of surviving; unreal feelings; feelings of being out of control; denial; feelings of being overwhelmed; and feelings of fragility.
Cognitive: difficulty making decisions; reoccurrence of disturbing dreams; memories and flashbacks; hypervigilance or being on constant alert; feelings of dissociation; distortion of time and space; rumination or racing thoughts; or repeatedly replaying the traumatic event.
Spiritual: loss of hope; limited expectations about life, intense use of prayer; loss of self-efficacy; feelings of despair and disillusionment; questioning (“Why me?”); loss of meaning and importance of life.
Use this Self-Care Toolkit for your Psychological First Aid (PFA):
Stress Reduction tools: if you are anxious, etc., use these tools to alleviate it so you may move forward.
Grounding: concentrate on your body in your current surroundings. You are present. You are safe.
1. Find a comfortable position.
2. Name 5 things you can see.
3. Name 5 things you hear.
4. Name 5 things you can touch.
5. Name 5 things you can taste.
6. Name 5 things you can smell.
Controlled Breathing: concentrate on the count; breathe through your nose. This will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which will slow your heart rate. You are present. You are safe. You are not alone.
1. Inhale, 4 count.
2. Hold, 4 count.
3. Exhale, 4 count,
4. Hold, 4 count.
5. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
Pandemic Self-Care Kit: Include whatever brings you comfort
Books, music, comfort objects
Watch TV/You Tube videos of art museums, exercise, etc.; *limit news on TV/social media to 1 hour/day*
Exercise outdoors: walking, hiking, forest bathing;
Meditate, walking, sitting, tai chi, yoga
Draw, photograph, paint, write
Use phone/social media to keep in touch with family and friends
When you are ready, go out and help your neighbors. Here’s how you can help:
Psychological First Aid for your neighbors: Listen, Protect, Connect
Listen. Ask if they need help. Pay attention to what they say, how they act and to what they need right now. Let them know you are willing to listen. They may not be ready; let them know you will check in later.
Protect. It helps everyone feel better when you take actions to provide support, encouragement and reassurance. You can make informed decisions to:
Offer to seek information and resources.
Answer questions simply and honestly, clearing up any confusion they may have.
Empathize and let them know they are not alone in their reactions to the event.
Provide opportunities for them to communicate, but do not force them.
Talk to them about what is being done to keep everyone safe from harm.
Connect. Connecting neighbors to their friends, loved ones and other resources has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
Ensure that you are connecting with them regularly.
Help them find access to resources that can offer support.
What NOT to say:
“I understand.” In most situations, we have not had the same experience.
“Don’t feel bad.” They have the right to feel bad and needs time to feel differently.
“You’re strong,” or “You’ll get through this.” No one knows for sure.
“Don’t cry.” It’s okay to cry.
“It’s God’s Will.” Giving religious meaning to an event may offend them.
“It could be worse,” or “Everything will be okay.” They decide this, not you.
These responses may elicit a negative response from the neighbor. It is okay to apologize if you said something wrong.
SAY this instead:
“I’m sorry for your pain.”
“Is it all right if I help you with…?”
“I can’t imagine what this is like for you.”
“What do you need?”
Our reactions to stressful situations differ in degrees. Psychological First Aid is not therapy or treatment. If someone has suffered trauma or losses previously, their reactions tend to be more severe and may require therapy. If you are experiencing symptoms for more than a month, seek treatment. Eugene has several counseling agencies, which are low-cost and low barrier, including these:
Center for Community Counseling
1465 Coburg Rd., Eugene
Trauma Healing Project
1100 Charnelton St., Eugene