CANNON BEACH — As one of the most popular destinations on the North Coast, Cannon Beach has tried to stay nimble in response to the coronavirus.
The City Council adopted an emergency resolution last week that allows the city manager to take action when there is not enough time for councilors to meet.
After Cannon Beach saw a surprising influx of tourists on Saturday, the city followed others on the North Coast in closing hotels and other lodging to visitors. The exceptions are for people on long-term stays and essential workers.
The city took the restrictions a step further by also excluding daytrip visitors through early April.
Rick Hudson, the city’s emergency manager, said the city designed the response to be flexible.
“So, we’re pretty proud of that. But, in general, we’re nervous. We’re concerned that we’re going to miss something,” he said. “Looking down the road, we’re even looking at the recovery phase. We may not use five out of the 10 things we’re planning for, but we have to start looking for that and how do we lean into it? Because I think this is going to be a prolonged incident.”
Hudson said the Community Emergency Response Team is rallying to identify the city’s vulnerable population.
“We’re just trying to find out where they are. And usually, the people in this community don’t use social media or computers,” Hudson said. “We’re trying to reach out to them the best way that we can and we don’t know where that’s going to go.
“We don’t know if we’re going to have a quarantine city or if we’re going to have nobody that needs help. But either way, that’s the goal with that.”
The Community Emergency Response Team can help organize volunteers to help people with everything from delivering food and prescriptions to dog walking.
“It’s also going to go back to what’s going on with the businesses,” Hudson said. “If we can get people to shop local and work local, then we can react to all of a sudden you have a quarantine city and you have a hundred people that are quarantined at home, and now how do you take care of them? And so, we’re just getting prepared for that moment.”
City Manager Bruce St. Denis said the city is also looking further ahead to when they can welcome visitors back. The city and the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce plan to work together on a plan and messaging moving forward.
“Basically, we want to support the message that you guys have put out and remind everyone that we’re not really open for business. But also to remind everybody how calm and relaxing Cannon Beach can be and to share that with them,” James Paino, the chamber’s executive director, said during a special meeting of the City Council on Tuesday.
The messaging conveys that the city is not accepting visitors, but in a positive way, Paino said, and also reminds visitors they will be welcomed back when the time is right.
“We’re starting now to look forward to economic recovery efforts and how we can facilitate those,” Paino said in an interview. “We’re going to be involved throughout this process and we hope we can help in the interim and help everybody work together.”