Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OPRD) issued several notices regarding its responses to COVID-19, saying it continues to adapt to the constantly-changing circumstances. OPRD has closed all its indoor facilities and is cutting back on some services, but mostly the fluid situation calls for a special website with up-to-minute, updated information.
The Oregon State Parks Status page will issue new information when it becomes available. OPRD spokesman Chris Havel said visitors should check there before requesting information from state parks.
“These changes will happen as new guidance is released by the State of Oregon team and federal Centers for Disease Control, and could affect operating hours for parks, the facilities that are open within a park and what services staff provide,” he said.
Some parks will see reduced service to trash, restrooms and other facilities like visitor centers. Visit the status page before you travel to the Oregon coast or anywhere outdoors in Oregon to understand how a destination might be affected by reduced services and resources.
OPRD also issued some special advice for these circumstances, essentially saying get outdoors but stay away from others. Most Oregon coast visitor organizations are also advising those who come out to the beaches to stay clear of residents and each other, sticking to empty areas on beaches.
• Getting outdoors is good for the body and mind. When you can, do it, whether it’s a state park or not.
• If an area is so crowded you can’t maintain a healthy social distance — at least six feet — find a different place to go. Again, local visitor centers are urging the public to stay out of areas with other residents and visitors.
• If you’re ill, stay home.
• Even outdoors, cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue (then throw it away), or use the inside of your elbow. Avoid touching your face.
• Continue hand washing regularly, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
“It’s up to you to practice good personal hygiene, and not every place at every park can be kept clean all the time,” Havel said.
All state park visitor/information centers that are indoors are shut down, but the actual beaches are not. These include the centers at: Newport’s Beverly Beach, Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park in Florence, the gift shop at Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint (at the top of Cape Foulweather) near Depoe Bay, Shore Acres State Park at Coos Bay, and the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Other lighthouses are not open.
The Whale Watching Center at Depoe Bay is shut down until further notice and other main attractions, museums or information centers are closed, such as visitor centers in any Oregon coast town (such as Bandon, Gold Beach, Florence, Manzanita, etc.), along with attractions like Oregon Coast Aquarium, Seaside Aquarium, and the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center. All history museums are shuttered for now as well.
If you are heading to the coast or any other Oregon destination, stick to your lodging and wide-open areas. Shop for groceries before you leave town, as small-town markets are currently strained.