Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Lincoln City hospitality industry remains open amid wave of closures

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Lincoln City citizens have isolated themselves at home, schools are closed and local restaurants have closed or converted operations to comply with government orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, yet the hospitality industry remains open for business.

Hotels, motels and vacation rentals are in full operation and visitors are free to book a room or rent a house and travel to Lincoln City. Housekeepers and staff are still doing their jobs attending to out-of-town guests.

Captain Cook Inn

According to some hotels, cancellations have been pouring in and refunds are being issued. Some non-refundable bookings made on deal sites like Booking.com are being moved to later dates in an effort to bridge the gap and satisfy the customer.

In a letter sent to Homepage, a concerned housekeeper had this to say:

“We are putting our lives at risk because the hospitality industry is still open. I have kids home from school and a husband that is home from work and yet I am required to go to work and clean after people who would rather travel instead of staying home. I feel the only way to insure the virus does not keep traveling is to also close down the hospitality industry.”

The housekeeper said she was contacting state representatives in the hopes Governor Kate Brown will notice and “shut it all down.”

Lincoln City City Manager Ron Chandler had a response:

“The Governor issued new directives further limiting gatherings. Specifically, all gatherings of 25 or more are prohibited, all restaurants will be closed and restricted to serving take out and urged Oregonians to avoid gatherings of 10 or more. Many business are closing or reducing their hours. When making travel plans, please review the directives and information given by the Governor, the Oregon Health Authority, Lincoln County Health & Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, please consider the businesses that have closed when making travel plans.”

As a tourist town, Lincoln City relies heavily on revenue from the transient room tax generated from hotels, motels and vacation rentals. Lincoln City has a large amount of lodging compared to other coastal towns making it the major industry for the city. A shut down of the hospitality industry could severely impact Lincoln City’s economy.

Chinook Winds Casino, one of the biggest resort hotels in Lincoln City, closed down its resort and casino operations March 17 as a result of COVID-19.

Hotel managers say they are taking extra precautions, such as wiping down counters and doorknobs and maintaining social distancing during check-in and check-out. They said housekeepers have been directed to wear gloves and use bleach solution everywhere possible.

Oregon Health & Sciences University leaders have asked the public to avoid spring break travel in Oregon and beyond. 

Time will tell whether or not government steps in and forces the hospitality industry to close and local government is likely to follow direction from the state and federal level.

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Justin Werner
Justin Wernerhttps://wernerhost.com/
Justin Werner is founder and publisher of Lincoln City Homepage and a journalist reporting news for the fine citizens of Lincoln City, Oregon and beyond. He's on a mission to seek out truth and isn't afraid to be the tip of the spear for freedom of the press. When he's not wearing his reporter hat, you can find him enjoying the Oregon Coast with his wife and three children.

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  1. sorry but all business are being affected by this virus your article makes it seem that the hospitality industry has a “pass” to continue on business as usual. this is arrogant , self centered and greedy .

  2. This is reckless and foolhardy. It’s nonsense like this that will spread this virus and ultimately lead to a state-wide mandatory shut down. I can only hope Governor Brown takes this step before it’s too late because clearly others are not willing to accept the severity of this crisis. It shouldn’t be about money. It should be about life.

  3. Kudos to Chinook for doing the right thing to protect their city and their employees. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was thinking of the impact to others, as our country confronts this pandemic?

  4. TRT…transcient room tax…The lifeblood of the city manager and his cohorts. They elect to keep the virus locally for the greed. Shame on the entire City of Lincoln City.

  5. What I’m hearing is tell all tourists and travelers that Lincoln City does not want their business THEN blaming others for trying to keep the city alive (I think you might consider what would happen if your source of food stopped doing business, power, water, garbage other services). I’m sure they will remember and never return.
    Please show the courage of your convictions and name your business so people will know who to avoid in the future.
    We have consulted with our staff (they know about basic personal hygiene and professional sanitation procedures as well as using PPE’s which are provided) and they are aware that they may leave if they wish and they would be eligible for rehire when a position became available at a later time. In the meantime, we are available to assist non-profits like MSP and Tribal Care Programs with housing those in dire need.
    Much more could be said, but it would sound like the sniveling posted above.
    A better use of my time is answering calls for assistance from members of this community (providing transportation to deliver food and propane to one and some basic home repair for another).
    If not an ACTIVE part of the solution – you’re part of the problem.

  6. Our store shelves are emptying and the supply chain was already behind before the Pandemic. Once the virus does hit here, and it will, our medical systems very well could be overwhelmed as well as our supply chain to the coast. It’s not if, it’s WHEN! Meredith Lodging is claiming (Facebook, likely elsewhere) we are a haven away from the epidemic, come on down to the coast. This needs to stop! They are endangering all of us who live here. The loss of business is affecting all of us. The loss of business is inevitable and is already affecting us. People will be encouraged (threatened) to work cleaning up after tourists putting them at risk. This is irresponsible and needs to stop. Our reality has changed and not taking it seriously could lead to the same result as the Spanish flu 100 years ago.

  7. Greed!
    Just like what happend with the eclipse event.
    On Friday, Lincoln City was filling with touroids that are not social distancing.
    Cars with Washington plates pouring in.
    Oregon’s Governer and Lincoln City’s Mayor will be to blame for the outbrake in Lincoln City.
    Good luck in politics ya [email protected]$!

  8. Kate Brown is obviously the main problem at this time. She should’ve shut the State down before springbreak.
    All politicians become consumed by it.

  9. We may be a hospitality venue but if we are all sick and unable to do our jobs will the GM, who seems to think we are all sniveling complainers, put on his or her gloves and start scrubbing toilets and floors? I doubt it. Driving around pretending to be a do-gooder is hardly putting themselves on the front lines. Is he paying his hard-working staff more than $12.50 per hour? I doubt it.

    I am with the majority! Kate Brown needs to step up and protect the hospitality workers because the top dogs in the business sure don’t care about us!

  10. This will be a bit lengthy. First: in response to “concerned GM”. No one has told tourists and travelers that the residents of Lincoln City and surrounding areas, don’t want their business. Closures and proactive responses are necessary because of COVID-19-a WORLDWIDE pandemic. Google it. Second: Your statement that others, like yourself, are being “blamed” for trying to keep the city “alive”. No, but you might be blamed for fostering an environment where the consequences of your actions, and protecting your bottom line, could result in life threatening illness and/or death. Third: You want someone “to show the courage of you convictions and name your business so people will know who to avoid in the future”. I invite you to do the same. I am sure there are plenty of residents here who would like to talk to you about your concern for the local economy, your bottom line, and the possible long term effect of your actions. Fourth: Your concern and protection of your staff. I doubt you have them in the actual proper protective gear that is necessary. If you have a stash of that somewhere, which you would need to have to keep your employees protected correctly, the Federal Government is requesting that such stock be provided to medical facilities. There are critical supply shortages. You are not only putting your employees at risk all whom they come in contact with,live with and care for when they clock out. Again you can google COVID-19 and pandemic if you need more information. Fifth: You say all you were seeing in comments was “sniveling” (by the way sniffling is part of the symptoms of COVID-19 symptoms) and that your time is better spent “answering calls for assistance from this community, providing transportation to ONE and some basic home repair to another”. You should consider that as something a decent, empathetic, compassionate human being should do. Might I suggest that when the country “opens for business again you partner up with small locally owned businesses in our town and help come up with ideas and programs to help all survive and thrive.
    As to Meredith Lodging’s current come on down to the coast, “we are a haven away from the epidemic” Seriously??!!? I know M.L. has close ties to medical providers in our community. Perhaps someone in the family could sit down with them an they could explain COVID-19 to them. It is my understanding that one of them works in a hospital in New York during the week. Bet he could help open your eyes to the obvious here. You can continue your quest for local hospitality dominance when all of this is over. Finally, Lincoln City Mayor and administrators. At the VERY LEAST close the beach accesses like you do for sneaker waves and Tsunamis. This virus isn’t sneaking but it definitely a Tsunami Gov. Cuomo of New York says “Flatten the Wave”. Get your heads out of your collective arses and JUST DO IT, if you haven’t already. I haven’t been nor am I going into town to see for myself. Also if a person contracts this virus it looks like the lung capacity of some can be 20-30% lost. I am an asthmatic, have been all my life, diminished lung capacity makes it harder to have those long walks on the beach. That and possible death cut down on tourist numbers. We don’t want that.

  11. The continued pass for the hospitality industry in Lincoln City is nothing less than reckless. Many of us are changing and have changed our lives, but greedy and selfish persons are ignoring the stay at home recommendations, I emailed the city manager and he had replied that basically, all the city has done was stop it’s own advertising.
    I’m going to be making a sign that says “tourists unwelcome” here pretty soon. It’s selfish for vacationers to bring the risk of disease from larger population centers here. The whole @#$%^ country is taking a hit! Bite the bullet and get with the program.

  12. What in heavens name is wrong with our elected city officials???? Our city has been declared an emergency, but Meredith Lodging, Vacasa, Oregon Beach Rentals are encouraging people to “Come to Lincoln City where it is safe from the virus”. My niece purchased a house that Meredith Lodging cleaned and it took her over two weeks to get it liveable, dirt swept under counters, black in toilet. I would not let them clean a dog house! I live in the only VRD subdivision in this city and it is overrun with Washington license plates and people this weekend. Our city officials need to get their heads out of the sand and stop the influx of tourists. We are doing what is asked of us, staying home, but how does this do any good when we have people come here that maybe bringing sickness! This city is more worried about the money they get for VRDS, not for the residents. Myself, I am very disappointed in the city council, Mayor and Police Chief. Hopefully someone who cares for us will run in the next election and vote these people out of office.

  13. Dear Concerned GM, I spent 30 years in the tourism/convention business and I know one thing for sure…most (Hotel) GM’s have heavy turn over, which means that more than likely you won’t even be in LC 3 years from now. Surprise! Most of the citizens (most elderly) WILL be here IF they don’t die from this deadly virus! So, logically, we need to deal with first things first, LIKE SURVIVAL and safety of the citizens. Second, currently, Washington state has the highest rate of Corona Virus cases in the country. Surprise again! Many, if not most, of the tourists coming to Lincoln City are from…you guessed it Washington! Third, don’t try and SCARE everyone with your nonsense regarding the entire city coming to a halt. I worked at a major convention center located in a major city (pop. 375,000) during 9/11. Yes, there was a huge slow down in tourism, yes there were lay offs and yes there were budget cuts. But the city not only survived it flourished a few years later. So before you continue with your nonsense of focusing on the all mighty dollar and achieving your annual bonus for high occupancy rates, consider, more importantly the health and safety of the CITIZENS of LC!

  14. We have reservations at Pacific Winds through Blue Pacific next weekend. We have reached out to cancel or postpone after hearing that the residents do not want visitors because of the virus which we totally understand. Our plan was to stay in the hotel, bring all of our food, possibly get food to go may be one night and only go on the beach if it wasn’t crowded. Although it is supposed to rain. Just play games and have fun with the kids, change of scenery, but stay inside the room and clean up after ourselves. We were told by Blue Pacific we could extend our stay to 2-4 weeks, move our trip to sometime between now and June 1 (excluding holiday) or 10/15 to a December date. None of which would work except memorial day. The final offer was 50% refund only if we cancel 72 hours prior to arriving. I think it is sad that these businesses are not supporting what their community is asking. We more than likely will not come even without a full refund. However if we did I promise we would make sure our community presence is at a minimum. I have been coming to Lincoln City for more than 50 years. We will honor and respect the community regardless if the businesses do not. I can promise we will come to Lincoln City when it is safe.

  15. It is concerning enough to see people coming here, ignoring social distancing, and making it more difficult for locals, many of whom are seniors, to buy groceries. But I question the wisdom of keeping hotels and vacation homes open right now. I can tell you that standard, thorough housekeeping, especially when quick turnovers are scheduled, is not the deep cleaning that seems warranted given the current situation, especially given the fact that, according to experts, the virus can remain active on some surfaces for up to three or more days. To ask housekeepers to continue to clean guest room after guest room or whole vacation homes at this time is, I think, unfair. Someone mentioned the use of PPE for housekeepers. But if they are referring to masks, especially, those should be donated to our healthcare workers instead of being used to turn over guest rooms for spring breakers. PPE is in short supply to the point that many medical facilities are asking anyone with a sewing machine to make masks for them. It’s not that we don’t ever want visitors again. But right now, this virus is an unknown quantity, and recklessness, such as encouraging huge numbers of visitors to come here endangers not only locals and housekeepers but the visitors as well. And we want everyone to be safe. It is better at the beach. But right now, it’s even better at your house.

  16. To Tracie…we have used Blue Pacific for booking our stays on the Oregon Coast for years and until now have always appreciated the fact that they work with their customers. Our son and daughter-in-law also have/had reservations at Pacific Winds for their spring break and in light of all that is happening they contacted Blue Pacific to find out what their options were. They received the same response you did. I am truly disappointed in them. They have not taken into consideration the fact that their housekeeping staff could be exposed and ultimately pass this on. I would think that the condo owners that Blue Pacific works for would step up and pull their units out even if BP chooses to ignore the CDC guidelines and the leadership of other businesses like theirs. By the way – how are things going in Salem, Blue Pacific???


  18. I just received the news we needed 2 weeks ago from the city manager’s
    office, all short term lodging is shut down beginning on the 25th, and no reservations as of 8am the 24th- unless you stay over 30 days.
    I live in the Olivia Beach area, the only subdivision zoned specifically
    for vrd dwellings, I can’t even begin to tell you here how much we have fought and complained for the last 15 years while this place, which is still building houses, invaded our neighborhood. City council meetings,
    while interesting at times, can be a little boring while waiting for citizen
    comments. It can be productive though, we’ve been able to get a stop sign at a dangerous intersection, and the animal waste ordinance revised to include all private property. Anyway- this is very good news for those of us who have been appalled at the way this crisis was being
    handled. I’m sorry if you’re out of work, a lot of people are, and the feds
    are attempting to think about possibly considering doing something about it sometime soon. We got take out last night, and we’ll try to do it more often, stay local.

  19. I have a home in Lincoln City . My main residence is in Salem. I travel there every week to stay. It’s not a rental. I can’t find anything that would prohibit my going there .

  20. So I’ve read through several of these posts and it’s clear to me that most of you are very concerned about tourists c