City of Eugene: Covid-19 Community Update

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The City of Eugene’s top priority continues to be the health and safety of the community as we move into the fifth week of our national collective emergency. We are in this for the long haul but we are in this together. There is a lot going on to keep our community safe and preserve our local hospitals’ capacities. This update provides information on the latest City activities and links to where you can find more information. For health and safety information and updates on COVID-19 please visit Lane County Public Health’s website.

In This Update:
– Economic Recovery
– Additional designated temporary shelter sites to open for unhoused in Eugene
– Help Your Community
– Using Trails and Outdoor Spaces Safely
– Resources for More Information

Economic Recovery
Eugene’s economic development staff are working hard with our partners at Lane County and Springfield to ensure our community has important information about federal and state resources. Our COVID-19 webpages includes an Info for Businesses section that is regularly updated as new information becomes available.

Eugene has conducted daily outreach to employers to understand their needs and ability to access federal resources, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. We know the application process has been challenging and we are working with our regional partnerships to communicate these challenges to the federal level.

We are taking steps to help our businesses navigate this difficult time. Before the Governor ordered the closing of many businesses, the City of Eugene reached out to businesses that are recipients of the City’s loans to see how we could help. We offered to defer loan payment for two months to businesses that needed it.

We’ve also worked with restaurants in and near the downtown to create designated parking spaces so restaurant patrons can quickly access take-out services.

We are working to get businesses the resources they need so they can survive this shutdown and continue to be part of our community when things re-open.

The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of restaurants that are open for pick-up or delivery at this time, and several restaurants and businesses have started offering grocery delivery. Shopping at locally owned stores is one of the best things we can do to help our economy recover in the weeks and months to come. If you are wondering if it is safe to order take out, research has shown contracting the virus through food is unlikely. Food borne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission. It is still important to maintain physical distance from food delivery people.
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Workers who are unemployed at this time can also find links to resources on our Info for Workers page, including unemployment insurance benefits, workers facing a layoff situation, and more.

Additional designated temporary shelter sites to open for unhoused in Eugene

As our region continues to respond to COVID-19, the City of Eugene, in conjunction with Lane County and White Bird, opened two designated temporary emergency sheltering sites the week of April 6 at Amazon and Hilyard community centers. This week, we mobilized a third temporary shelter site, Petersen Barn Community Center, and will provide space for up to six additional car and six tent camping sites.

The City of Eugene continues to focus on strategies that will “flatten the curve,” such as a distribution site for basic supplies, designated temporary shelter sites, outreach to unhoused individuals, and basic sanitation and hygiene. These strategies reduce the need for people to travel around the city to access basic needs and shelter. This work is consistent with CDC guidance on protecting people experiencing homelessness and the broader community from the spread of COVID-19.

Designated temporary shelter sites are locations where small groups of people (up to 10 people or six tents) can stay in tents or vehicles with appropriate physical distancing and will be supported with hygiene stations (portable restrooms and handwashing stations), food and supplies, and welfare check-ins. The locations also have privacy fencing in place to help support the security of the site. The sites are managed by White Bird and Carry It Forward, local homeless service providers.

Spaces in the sites are available by referral only. Individuals must go to the White Bird distribution site, at 341 E 12th Ave., first to be assigned to a designated temporary shelter location. The White Bird distribution site is open seven days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Individuals who are already safely sheltering in place elsewhere are advised to stay where they are and access supplies through the distribution site or outreach teams rather than relocating to these sites.

Basic Sanitation and Hygiene Stations Continue – With a focus on increasing hygiene in the community to limit the spread of COVID-19, the City of Eugene has continued to add to the number of publicly available restrooms. The City’s Emergency Operations Center distributed nearly 40 portable restrooms around the city. There are also approximately 50 handwashing stations throughout Eugene. View all of the portable restrooms and handwashing station locations through our online mapping portal. According to the Centers for Disease and Control, regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others, including COVID-19.

Outreach to Support Basic Needs and Stay-In-Place – The City has been conducting outreach to unhoused individuals to ensure basic needs are being met for those experiencing homelessness, allowing them to stay in place as much as possible during this emergency.  Outreach teams are canvassing the parks and rights of way throughout Eugene and are passing out food, water, gear, hygiene supplies, and education and up-to-date information on COVID-19.

Help Your Community

You can directly support your fellow community members by donating blood. To support social distancing, appointments are required. With thousands of blood drives cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross is working hard to open new donation sites. In the meantime, please search 14 days out or beyond. The need for blood is constant – patients need your help. Find a blood drive near you through the American Red Cross or Bloodworks Northwest.

There are many ways to volunteer at this time. United Way of Lane County has a webpage with information about all the ways community members can volunteer their time and abilities right now.

Using Trails and Outdoor Spaces Safely

Trails and outdoor spaces are seeing major spikes in usage across the country, as individuals and families look to these assets for daily physical activity and mental respite in the wake of COVID-19. The Rails to Trails Conservancy has put together a list of resources that offer guidance on how to be safe in the outdoors. Be safe and be healthy!

If you plan to visit a park, strict adherence to physical distancing and equipment closures are mandatory. Keep the “space” in parks and open space:

  • Maintain a physical distance of at least six feet between anyone not of the same household.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick.
  • Avoid crowds by arriving early.
  • Visit parks close to home to minimize your travel.
  • Do not use any playground equipment, sports courts or skate parks.

How to handle packaging from takeout food or other items that may be delivered to you.

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Getting groceries is one activity for which most of us have to leave our homes. Here are some tips for protecting your health and the health of others when you are shopping:

protecting health at the grocery store

Resources for More Information

The City of Eugene and our partners have a significant amount of information available online. Please visit these resources for the most up to date information.

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