Health & Wellness

Safe At Home

An unusual scene in Creswell on Tuesday afternoon as the iconic Creswell Bakery stands on a bare street corner. The staff is taking time to strategize on how best to serve customers. Jordan Cora Lampe/The Chronicle

Vacant parking lots, ”closed until further notice” signs, schools on hiatus and a calendar without events; the entire Willamette Valley is closed for business as the Coronavirus creeps into Lane County.
By presstime Tuesday, the State reported 65 cases and Lane County had reported its first. With limited testing available, State officials say many people are already infected and that number will only continue to grow.
As a measure to lessen the spread of the virus, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Monday afternoon banned gatherings of more than 25 people for at least four weeks, and restricted restaurants and other establishments to serving takeout and delivery food only.
Creswell Mayor Richard Zettervall said that in a conversation with Gov. Brown and other Oregon mayors on Sunday, he told Brown that he ”understood the importance of social distancing and is helping to curb the spread of the virus, but that it would come with a big cost,” noting the economic impact of closed restaurants and bars for four weeks.
”It makes you nervous because we’re always on a tight margin,” said Blue Valley Bistro owner Seth Clark, who said that his restaurants in Creswell, Pleasant Hill and Coburg probably couldn’t survive an extended closure. ”Our business, like many other small businesses, runs on small margins, and cash is air to us. If it goes away, we slowly suffocate.”
Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg said she ”understands the philosophy” of social distancing and that, ”whether business owners or employees, it’s a huge, devastating circumstance for them to be in.”
Nick Hammond, the ”Trainer Dude” on Main Street in Springfield said his greatest concern is also lost income.
”There is a small cushion,”Hammond said, noting that he prepaid rent on the gym and his home, if the loss of income continues beyond two months, things would ”get serious” for him.
Creswell City Manager Michelle Amberg advises that owners track the impact of the Coronavirus protocols on their business.
”We will want to have that information when the restrictions are lifted,” Manager Amberg said. ”Closures will have a very big impact on the US economy. Daycare closures and workplace closures will make it very difficult for families. We want to hear about these experiences.”
Mayor Zettervall said that during the conference that ”most mayors shared similar comments to mine.” While Cottage Grove Mayor Jeff Gowing agrees that the financial impact is worrisome for his community, he thinks the Coronavirus and the social distancing techniques have been blown out of proportion.
”It is one of those things that I get what they are trying to do, but are they taking it too seriously? Over the top maybe?,” Mayor Gowing said. ”It is like any virus that is out there. It wasn’t nearly as much of a crisis, and then the media had blown it out to be one. Lots of people died from the H1N1 and several die from the flu every year. Now, the grocery stores have been impacted by people buying out everything. I was at WalMart last week and there was no frozen food, no bread; it is just a crazy response. Y2K wasn’t this bad.”
Gowing said that ”a bigger deal to me was dealing with a broken sewer line. Real life issues are happening as well, so that takes priority. I don’t see why people are freaking out so bad. I’m more in fear of the reaction of people that are going crazy and hoarding stuff, and what it is doing to the economy than how many people it will take out. This is not the Bubonic Plague that will destroy everyone, I don’t see it being our end-all disease.”
Mayor Lundberg said that she is spending a lot more time in news conferences with the county and Eugene and Springfield, the Governor’s Office, and combing through a flood of emails. ”Everyone else is in the same boat and not doing what is routine at the moment,” she said.
Mayor Zettervall suggests that now is a good time to help where you can, and to reach out to your neighbors. ”We are all in this together and with the collective love of our community, we will get through this,” Zettervall said.
Mayor Lundberg is hopeful that ”people are going to come up with a variety of ways to make this work,” she said. ”If there’s an area where it isn’t working we’re going to have to find a way to make it better. It’s going to take all of us.”
Rohde said that the culture among staff at Wise Woman Herbals is already changing as a result. ”On the whole, we are paying even more attention to one another, understanding individual circumstances, and working better as a team to support others,” Rohde said. ”In the long term, this will be an incredibly positive experience for our culture and our business.”
”Trainer Dude” Hammond and his family live up the McKenzie River and he said they have enough food to ride it out for a while.
”If we have to, we’ll take the camper up into the national forest and be fine,” Hammond said. ”It’s hard to imagine that there’s a crisis when we sit on the river and see how beautiful things are.”

Chronicle reporters Aliya Hall and Joey Blum also contributed to this report.



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