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County Approves To Apply For Phase 1 Opening

Two out of three commissioners approved the county to apply for the phase one re-opning to be sent to the Governor. This morning (5/11) the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners met to discuss with county health officials where the county is at to move forward with their application to the Governor for Phase 1 opening. Lincoln County has had 6 cases and 4 have recovered and there have been no hospitalizations.

The county is in the process of ramping up testing on larger scales. There is a testing facility now open by Samaritan in Depoe Bay and in Waldport and there is hope to have a facility open soon in Newport. The county has also met the criteria for tracing requirements and has 4 trained who speak Spanish and have secured hotel/motel rooms to act as isolation space for those in need to recover that don't require hospitalization.

The window for counties to apply to open in phase one started on Friday. Criteria must be met by the regional area as well as the individual county and some areas could open to phase one as early as May 14th, however it is unlikely that will be the case for Lincoln County as there has to be time for the Governor's office to review and confirm all the information on the application.

It was also discussed if there should be a date given for phase one re-opening with the application, which is not a requirement. Commissioner Hunt said he did not want to see phase one opening even if approved by the State before June 1. Commissioner Hall said she would support whatever date the state gave for opening. Commissioner Jacobson supported not putting an opening date on the application but to discuss it further when the county was approved for phase one opening.

Under phase 1 opening restaurants and bars would be able to open for sit down with 6-feet distancing required. Personal care salons would be able to open with 6-feet personal distancing appointments and a customer list required. Gyms and fitness could open with physical distancing and sanitation requirements and social gatherings is tentative and expand to 25 with no travel. A county would stay in phase 1 for 21 days before moving to phase 2.

Commissioner Hall made a motion to have Commissioner Jacobson and Rebecca Austin authorize the application to send to the Governor for phase one opening. This was approved by commissioners Hall and Jacobson. Commissioner Hunt opposed the motion as he wanted a specific date of June 1st for opening and not any sooner for phase 1. County Council Wayne Belmont pointed out that the opening of county and city hotels/motels, RV parks, VRD's and Air B&B's along with county parks and campgrounds would not be opening if phase one was approved prior to June 1.

He also pointed out that the phase 1 opening does NOT change the limitations on travel. He said the county has formed a work group with the cities and they are working on a plan for re-opening for hotels/motels and overnight lodging along with parks. Commissioner Hunt said he is not in support of opening up everything all at once, based on the amount of traffic that was here this weekend. There is fear that the county won't be able to handle the influx of visitors. The work group is meeting tomorrow and will post a draft plan to be presented to the commissioners, mayors and city councils by tomorrow on the counties website. All will be meeting on Thursday to further discuss a hard date for re-opening lodging facilities and parks.

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