Local businesses were given the green light to re-open on May 15 when Governor Kate Brown announced the state’s Phase One Re-Opening Plan. This news came with some caveats that had business owners and managers working hard to make their spaces safe for the public and their employees. After nearly two months of Stay Home, Stay Safe shutdowns some business owners were faced with the reality that if they did not open now, when they could, they might not open at all; and so they had to put into place measures that helped them feel comfortable with this new reality. Some businesses re-opened with the same hours and services they provided prior to the closures, some have opened with limited hours or limited seating and some have chosen to remain closed. Each business has had to decide how to implement the Phase One Re-Opening Guidelines for itself. In this new pandemic landscape, there must be rules, regulations and guidelines; and so, there were rules, regulations and guidelines. You can find the full list of business types that were allowed to re-open on the State of Oregon website, along with a list of counties approved to enter Phase One.

Many business owners have hung up the signs provided by the Oregon Health Authority and gone about business with few changes, other than a six-foot distance between patrons. There are industries, such as restaurants and hair salons, that have specific rules spelled out for them that require more than just a sign. For salon owners and workers there are rules such as pre-appointment health checks, face masks at all times, and contact tracing. The guidelines require that salons “remove all unnecessary items such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, and any other unnecessary items such as paper products, snacks, and beverages” from waiting rooms and have clients wait outside until their appointment time. For restaurants, “tables must be spaced at least six feet apart so that at least six feet between parties is maintained, including when customers approach or leave tables.” This has been difficult for many local restaurants which have limited space. Those restaurants who are unable to rearrange seating to maintain a six-foot distance are required to remain open only for pickup and delivery.

Are these guidelines and rules enough? Businesses are encouraged to come up with a comprehensive plan to protect the health of their patrons and employees based on their unique space, business type and size. Local retail stores have a variety of approaches to safety. We found signs requiring masks, social media posts asking customers not to handle products unless they were purchasing them, and temporary business-hour-adjustment announcements. Retail businesses up and down the coast are requiring that patrons wear face coverings and use hand sanitizer before touching products. Plexiglass “sneeze guards” in front of point of sale counters has become commonplace as businesses strive to find ways to protect their employees. Surely, we have all become familiar with the tape lines or circles on the ground to help us stay socially distanced at six feet.

Think you know the hours of your favorite store or restaurant? You might want to check in with them before heading their way, as we found that many local businesses have shortened their hours. This is especially true for restaurants and bars, as they are required in the Phase One Re-Opening Guidelines to close at 10 pm. A few businesses we spoke to are making their hours tentative and tell us that they are taking it day by day. Weekends on the coast bring big numbers of visitors and the potential for much-needed sales. But there is also the possibility of infection due to contact with those from more populated areas with more cases of the novel coronavirus. The larger numbers of people in town makes some owners nervous. One local business we spoke to told us that despite the chance to make more sales on weekends, they have made the decision to only be open on weekdays for the time being. They hope this will allow locals to shop but reduce their employees’ exposure to too many people.

As you venture out into the shopping world, or make an appointment to get your nails done, or stop by a local restaurant for a bite or a sip, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with each business’ safety precautions. Call ahead and ask if masks are required, read the new flyers taped to the window or pop your head in and ask an employee what is expected of you. The times we live in often require an extra step here or there but, with the cooperation of our community, we can work though the kinks and find our equilibrium. Compassion for owners, managers and employees during these difficult times is one of the greatest gifts you can give as you avail yourself of the services offered locally. Tip your waitresses and your barbers, smile at the cashier as you check out (don’t worry you can see a smile even through a mask) and make a little extra room in front of you when you stand in line — it makes a difference.


In addition to being professional photographers, Krista Melone and Rachel Baird are co-owners of Tah•Lume Curiosities & Gifts, which offers online commerce at www.tahlume.com.

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So, it is the arts and events newspaper of record for the Oregon Coast. Rock on, Oregon Coast Today.

I am a writer for the paper, Deep Dive with Paul Haeder. Features on individuals who I showcase as amazing rooted people in our coastal culture.

Some people are highly active in their communities tied to the environment, social justice, with the homelessness issues, and more. Sure, artists have been highlighted. Read the past columns I have written to see the breadth of people living on the coast who are unique in many ways.

Universally, I end up with people who I have many philosophical and intellectually parallels with, though in most cases, I never find the dissident and radical in them that exist in me, and that’s okay. I have been an organizer for unions, been a radical college teacher, been a journalist in the southwest in Spokane, in Seattle, and in other countries. I grew up in the Azores, then Maryland, Paris, France, the UK, Germany, and some time in Canada. I have also been a roaming newspaper writer in Mexico and Central America. Don’t even get me going on my time in Vietnam covering biological surveys as both a logistics assistant for Vietnamese-UK transect studies, but as a journalist too.

Daily, I communicate with people around the world who have latched onto my writings, and me latching onto theirs. I think I have a thumb on the pulse of lots of things.

At age 63 with background in urban planning, college communications/ journalism/literature/writing; 12 years working as social services professional for released prisoners, with adults living with developmental disabilities, with homeless folk, even homeless veterans; with many years working in events planning and working the stage and having a radio show, I know my talents are a bit much for the people on the coast.

I do not have a home here in terms of a large tribe of people who are active and strong in terms of my own experiences with racism.

So, the stories of our time now are Coronavirus, Corona Capitalism, Trump the Dictator, the murder of yet another black man by police, and the waves and waves of people who are not taking it anymore. I wonder when the environmental groups and artist collectives will begin to crawl out of their cocoons and begin being better selves and looking at the reality of the way the world has shifted toward more and more haves not versus the gilded few controlling our economic, cultural, educational, media, community lives.

So, this reopening of the businesses, it makes sense. And it doesn’t. We have no systematic support systems in the USA. No MASH tents, no roaming clinics, no centralized command centers for PPE and tests and the like. We are a failed country, as many have stated. The issue of a super-flu like coronavirus SARS-CoV2 is serious especially for warehouse workers, meat packers, ag workers, and those stuffed in terrible places to make America greedy again. We have no national leadership, and we have a shoot from the hip mentality, and unfortunately, a dog-eat-dog world for the most part.

Can we develop a plan to mitigate the issues tied to sick workers going to work sick, and those who are viral shedders with no symptoms? Maybe this comment is too far afield, too politicized, but I wanted to get the stuff off my chest because I have many many discussions in Lincoln County with workers,

residents, travelers and the like. For most, they want answers and leadership. For some, they are so hateful, so racist, so colonized by a simple black and white mind that the conversations get heated, and I enjoy a good debate, and I have years and years debating. I also, unfortunately, have a few years in the US military, years teaching college to military, a few years teaching college classes in prison.

But in Waldport, where I live, I am seeing more and more racist and hateful people on the Facebook pages here. At Rays, the cashiers and others working there have had to deal with hateful people screaming at them for wearing masks, and then a couple of dudes chasing customers into the parking lot for NOT wearing masks.

Expect to deal with these and more issues with the restaurants reopening up. Maybe OCT will bite one of my story ideas that goes a bit outside my realm as Deep Dive people columnist.

Keep up the good work, Patrick and crew and fellow writers. Pick up my book, Wide Open Eyes – Surfacing from Vietnam, from Amazon. I’ve had to cancel public readings because libraries are closed, book stores closed, and literary conferences shut down. This is a collection of short stories, with a threaded theme, more or less. Read Linda Ford’s review of this book here:


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