City of Eugene: COVID-19 Community Update



There has been slow and steady progress to safely reopen in the last two weeks. Since we entered Phase 1 of Governor Kate Brown’s plan, local businesses are starting to work under new circumstances and community members are able to gather in small groups with physical distancing.

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said last week in a speech working together has helped us get this far, and it will help us continue down a path of progress.

“Please understand that this is a team effort,” Vinis said. “We are all in this together and have a responsibility to one another.”

We are encouraged to see businesses open closed doors with provisions in place for physical distancing. The return of childcare to our Rec centers and the offering of summer camps is a positive sign, too.

As we return to public places we should be mindful of protocols to help limit the spread of COVID-19. We want to thank everyone for being safe over Memorial Day Weekend and also remind people that while businesses and restaurants are starting to open, we aren’t out of the woods yet and it’s only through constant vigilance that we can move toward Phase 2.

Local Business Update

An anecdote from a local business owner

Since the beginning of the pandemic the City and its partners have worked closely with local business owners. The following is just one example of what we’re hearing in the community about the challenges people and businesses are facing. 

Falling Sky owner Rob Cohen reopened a part of his business in early May, but he and other Eugene brewpub and restaurant owners face a challenging future.

After being shut down for seven weeks, Cohen’s Falling Sky Delicatessen, 790 Blair Blvd., reopened May 1 for takeout and delivery business only. Falling Sky Brewpub on Oak Alley remains closed, as does Falling Sky Pizzeria in the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union.

Cohen says owning a business such as his during the COVID-19 pandemic is “perilous.”

“It’s like walking in slow motion, blindfolded, down a plank in a windstorm without knowing if there is anything on the other side,” he said. “Without a (COVID-19) vaccine very soon, the short-term outlook for brewpubs and restaurants like us seems very bleak.”

The March shutdown threw 49 Falling Sky employees out of work. Reopening the deli restored 17 jobs.

The state’s reopening guidelines for dine-in service require social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures. But Cohen said he is not ready to offer that option for the following reasons: He worries about the risk of infection for staff and customers; his employees would have to enforce social distancing, which could be a problem with transients who often attempt to use the deli’s bathroom; and it’s unknown if there would be enough demand for dine-in service to cover the cost of added employees.

Cohen was able to reopen the deli with financial help from the U.S. Small Business Administration – a $10,000 grant and a Paycheck Protection Program loan – plus flexibility from vendors, landlords and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Falling Sky received the Paycheck Protection Program loan with help from Summit Bank, which has been “amazing to work with throughout all of this,” Cohen said. “It has reaffirmed my belief in local banking.”


We’re here to help local businesses 

The City of Eugene has created a specialized team to help support local businesses as Lane County continues Phase 1 of the Governor’s Reopening Oregon plan. Visit our website to learn about the many ways the City is supporting local businesses and how we can help.

For businesses that may need additional space to meet physical distancing requirements, this could include access and use of outdoor space surrounding their premises. For example, a restaurant can offer seating on the adjacent sidewalk. The City is actively working to streamline that process, while exploring options to convert on-street parking spaces to seating, an idea called a ‘streatery’.

Each situation is unique and comes with opportunities and challenges, which the City will be working through as we reopen together.  Local businesses can email the team directly at

What is the guidance for face coverings for businesses and transit as Oregon begins to reopen?

As Oregon begins to reopen, OHA has released guidance about masks and face coverings for businesses, transit providers and the public. The graphic below outlines some of the requirements and recommendations.

business mask requirements

Eugene Rec announces registration date for youth summer camps

We are looking forward to helping make your summer the best it can be. We are excited to announce Eugene Rec will be offering summer camps starting June 22. Summer Camp registration will begin at 9 a.m. June 8 and you can go to Rec’s online registration portal to set up an account. Registration will also be available over the phone or in person Amazon, Sheldon or Petersen Barn community centers. Look for more information coming your way by the end of May, and please not that new patron cards will be required. We are hard at work planning for camp modifications to keep your kids safe and healthy including physical distancing, mask wearing and diligent sanitizing. Because these safety measures will include having smaller groups of campers, we appreciate your understanding that we expect enrollment capacity to be limited.

Childcare programs are also now running at Sheldon, Amazon and Petersen Barn community centers. Call 541-682-5312 for information and registration for child care.

Pools currently remain closed during Phase 1 of Lane County’s reopening. We are working on how we might safely begin swimming lessons and lap swimming at Amazon Pool during Phase 2. Sheldon Pool will remain closed, as current guidelines do not allow indoor pools to operate during Phase 2. Echo Hollow Pool will remain closed until renovations are complete later this year.

Facility rentals, fitness classes and other Rec programming will gradually begin to restart; stay tuned for more information. We plan for the limited and gradual reopening of all our community centers after the start of Phase 2 except for Campbell, which is still undergoing renovations.

We have missed recreating with you and are excited to begin welcoming you back! We will keep you posted on our reopening news on our website and through future emails.

When do we move into Phase 2?

After 21 days in Phase 1, counties continuing to meet the prerequisites may be able to enter Phase 2. Lane County’s ability to progress to Phase 2 relies on all of us working together and following all safety guidelines outlined for our gradual reopening.

The County entered Phase 1 on May 15, so the earliest it could be allowed to move into Phase 2 would be June 5. Stay tuned for more information next week about the process.

Learn More About Reopening Oregon


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City of Eugene: COVID-19 Community Update


We have successfully made it through the first weekend of Lane County’s Phase 1 reopening that began May 15. As we focus on moving forward, it is more important than ever that we work together as a community to support our local businesses in a way that is respectful and safe for all. We’ll all need to be prepared for things to be a little different as we venture back out into the world, including being patient as we figure out this new phase together.

Please wear your masks for the safety of our neighbors who are – and have been – putting their health and lives at risk to bring you services. Please continue physical distancing. Please practice kindness and grace with those around you as we are all experiencing this process in our own way.

Below we’ve provided information on some frequently asked questions.

Should I wear a mask in public?

The CDC and the Oregon Health Authority strongly recommend wearing face coverings in public. As Oregon reopens and restrictions gradually lift on businesses and public spaces, it may be difficult to ensure you can stay six (6) feet away from others at all times.

Additionally, some businesses may choose to require face coverings, and certain businesses and transit have specific requirements. See detailed mask and face covering guidance for businesses, transit and the public.

Do I still need to practice physical distancing?

Yes. To protect yourself and others, continue to practice physical distancing of at least six (6) feet between you and people you don’t live with.

What can the City of Eugene do to help my business meet new Phase 1 guidelines?

The City of Eugene is providing information and other assistance to help employers operate under the State of Oregon’s Phase 1 guidelines. Our business assistance team welcomes questions about operating under the guidelines, as well as suggestions from employers on how municipal government can support the restarting of businesses and the economy. Learn more about our Business Support or email the business assistance team.

What happens if individuals or businesses don’t comply with reopening guidelines?

If you have concerns that a business is not properly adhering to the Governor’s Executive Orders regarding physical distancing of employees in the workplace, you can submit a form through Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is the lead agency related to grocery and convenience stores. Consumer complaints regarding customer behavior or a lack of customer physical distancing in the retail environment should be directed to the ODA.

Once you have reached out to these state agencies, if you would like to continue to pursue your business-related concern locally, you can contact the Lane County Non-Emergency COVID-19 Call Center at 541-682-1380 or email They strive to be responsive with a strong emphasis on education. 

Community members should refrain from calling 9-1-1 if they have non-emergency needs. If you have a complaint about failure to follow the Governor’s Executive Order that is not related to a business, please contact your local city government or law enforcement provider using their non-emergency phone numbers. If you live in unincorporated Lane County, please call the call center number during business hours.

When can I send my kids back to daycare?

Child care providers that are ready to meet the state’s new rules are allowed to reopen. These rules, which apply statewide to all counties, were released last week.

Child care centers have to limit how many children come into contact with other youth and how many adults associate with each group of kids. They’ll also have to keep careful logs of when children and adults come and go so that health officials can trace who has been exposed if anybody gets sick.

Can I visit my loved one in a nursing home?

Not yet. Counties need to demonstrate at least three weeks of low COVID-19 transmission rates during Phase 1 of reopening before they can apply to enter Phase 2. The current Phase 2 guidelines are still being developed and may allow for limited visits to nursing homes and other so-called congregate-care facilities.

Can I visit my favorite restaurant?

Yes. In Phase 1, restaurants and bars are allowed to start serving seated meals.

To reopen, restaurants must ensure all tables are spaced at least six (6) feet apart. Groups eating together are limited to 10 people or fewer. Customers won’t be able to fill their plates at buffets or salad bars or to refill their drinks. Bar and restaurant staff need to wear face coverings. These businesses must close by 10 p.m.

Restaurants have been told they should encourage customers to call ahead or make a reservation. If there’s a long wait to be seated, customers may be asked to wait outside or in their cars.

You should check with your local restaurant to see if they are open during this time.

Can I hang out with friends?

Small gatherings are permitted in Phase 1, but there are still strict limits. No more than 25 people can get together for any event, they have to stay at least six (6) feet apart and they all must be local to the area. While this is allowed, it is still recommended to practice physical distancing measures for everyone’s health and safety. Group sports are still prohibited.

Can I get my hair done?

Barbershops and salons can reopen in Phase 1. Haircuts must be by appointment only — no walk-ins allowed. Stylists and barbers will be required to abide by state guidelines such as tracking their customers’ names and contact information, wearing protective gear and keeping customers six (6) feet apart from one another. They are also required to screen patrons – they will ask questions about how you’re feeling to verify you have not exhibited symptoms related to the virus.

Can I go shopping?

Yes, and State health officials strongly urge the use of masks for people who go out in public. Some people are required to wear face coverings to do their jobs, including health care workers and restaurant employees.

Some stores do require masks, and business owners may choose to deny entry to people who do not wear a mask.

Can I enjoy outdoor recreation or team sports?

The City of Eugene’s parks, trails and open spaces have remained open throughout the pandemic and continue to provide opportunities for physical activity while also providing opportunities for respite, health and wellness. Individuals are encouraged to use parks, trails and open spaces safely as they are able while following current guidance to maintain physical distance from others. Playgrounds, skateparks, outdoor sport courts and playground equipment, however, remain closed until further notice.

Gyms were allowed to reopen in Lane County beginning May 15 when we entered Phase 1. However, they must guarantee that patrons stay six (6) feet apart, and pools and showers remain closed. Contact sports are off-limits, and gyms are encouraged to ask their patrons to wear masks or other face coverings.

Gyms are also required to implement rigid sanitation protocols and track each person who works out and keep those records for at least 60 days.

When do we move into Phase 2?

After 21 days in Phase 1, counties continuing to meet the prerequisites may be able to enter Phase 2. Lane County’s ability to progress to Phase 2 relies on all of us working together and following all safety guidelines outlined for our gradual reopening.

Staying close to home as Oregon reopens

As counties reopen across Oregon, we’re asking you to stay local and close to home—meaning less than 50 miles in urban areas.

We know it may be tempting to visit other parts of the state but staying local will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to areas where it may not currently be circulating. Thank you for your efforts to keep your neighbors safe and healthy.

stay close to home oregon

Learn More About Reopening Oregon

City of Eugene: COVID-19 Community Update


Reopening Begins in Oregon

The gradual and incremental reopening of Oregon began earlier this month when Governor Brown allowed non-urgent medical procedures (beginning May 1) and recreation where physical distancing can be followed (beginning May 5 in some state park day-use areas and boat ramps, with an option for county/federal campgrounds). As Governor Brown has emphasized, Oregon’s phased reopening is guided by science and measurable data.

On Friday, May 15, two additional categories of business can reopen throughout Oregon:

  • Retail Stores: Stand-alone retail that was previously closed but can follow OSHA guidelines, including furniture stores, art galleries, jewelry shops and boutiques.
  • Childcare, summer school, camps and youth programs (with limitations and specific guidelines)

Read more information on statewide guidance for reopening.

Lane County Approved for Phase I Beginning May 15

Lane County’s application detailing its ability to meet the state’s seven prerequisites for phased reopening was accepted and approved. This allows the County to move into Phase I on May 15.

During Phase I, the following will be allowed in Lane County:

  • Gatherings up to 25 people while maintaining physical distance from those not in your household (no travel, stay close to home and avoid overnight trips)
  • Limited sit-down service at restaurants and bars with 6-foot distancing
  • Personal care businesses may reopen (salons, barber shops, massage) with physical distancing, appointments, personal protective equipment (PPE) and customer list
  • Gyms and fitness centers may reopen with physical distancing and sanitation
  • Shopping centers and malls may reopen with physical distancing

The Oregon Health Authority has created downloadable signage in multiple languages to post in your business (OHA Guidance, Signage and Rules): “Clean hands save lives,” “Going out? Stay apart,” and “Do you have these symptoms?”

Next Steps

After a minimum of 21 days, Lane County may be able to enter Phase II if it continues to meet all prerequisites. The state will not move into Phase III until there is a reliable treatment or vaccine. See more details about the state’s three phases of reopening. It’s also important to remember the Governor’s plan may change and it could affect Lane County and Eugene.

“The Governor’s Reopening Oregon plan outlines a phased approach to safely restart public life and business based on science and data,” Eugene Incident Commander and Eugene Springfield Fire Chief Chris Heppel said. “Different types of businesses will reopen differently in each phase, so the community needs to be flexible as we reopen and work to keep everyone safe while resuming services.”

Important Actions to Protect Ourselves and Each Other

During the past eight weeks, Eugeneans and residents throughout Oregon have helped flatten the curve by following important guidelines. As the state reopens, it’s important to remember the risks and to continue to do our best to protect ourselves and one another. If we all follow these actions, we will help save the lives of our colleagues, neighbors, friends and family members.

  • Stay home if you are sick: If you become symptomatic (cough, fever, shortness of breath) while in public, please return home and self-isolate immediately. Contact your health care provider if you need medical attention.
  • Stay home if you are at risk for severe complications: Individuals over the age of 60 or who have underlying medical conditions should stay home even if well to avoid exposure to COVID-19.
  • Practice good hand hygiene: Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol content).
  • Cover coughs/sneezes with elbow or tissue: If you use a tissue, immediately discard tissue in garbage and your wash hands.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Continue physical distancing: Maintain at least six (6) feet of distance between you and people who you do not live with.
  • Wear masks in public: The Governor strongly recommends the use of cloth, paper or disposable face coverings in public. As Oregon is reopening and restrictions are being lifted on businesses and public spaces, it may be difficult to ensure that you can stay six (6) feet away from others at all times.
  • Telework: When possible.
  • Stay close to home: Avoid overnight trips and minimize other non-essential travel, including recreational day trips to destinations outside the community where you live.

See detailed guidance for the public.

Long-term Community Recovery

When COVID-19 arrived in Oregon and Lane County, the City’s immediate response priorities were to help protect the health and safety of the community, support our public health partners and maintain essential services. As the pandemic evolved, the City directed resources to recovery measures, while also recognizing the need for a Long-term Community Recovery strategy to re-establish a healthy, functioning community that will sustain itself over time.

The City of Eugene is taking a “whole community approach” to long-term recovery that includes the social, economic and physical aspects of the city. To achieve long-term community recovery, the City of Eugene will start with a plan. This plan will focus on the period 12-24 months in the future to repair the damage caused by COVID-19. Learn more about the City’s long-term community recovery planning and watch the a recent City Council work session presentation and discussion.

Resources for More Information

The City of Eugene is working hard with our partners at Lane County and Springfield to ensure our community has important information about local, state and federal resources to help those who have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. See a list of Community Resources for physical and mental health, food, housing, businesses, employees, schools and children, as well as information in Spanish. Also learn how you can help.

Our partners also have a significant amount of information available online. Please visit these resources for the most up to date information:

City of Eugene: COVID-19 Community Update


This document was published May 6, 2020. For the most up to date information on the City’s work related to COVID-19, please visit our website

 This update provides information on the latest City activities and links to more information. For health and safety information about COVID-19 please visit Lane County Public Health’s website. 

Recovery Plan Taking Shape

The good news about our flattened curve has everyone wondering when the Stay Home order will be lifted. Last week, Governor Brown outlined her plan for relaxing restrictions and reopening sectors of our community. 

Most importantly, Governor Brown said the efforts to move forward with safely reopening Oregon will be gradual, incremental and based on science and data. The state has laid out seven pre-requisites that each county must reach before beginning Phase 1 of Reopening Oregon. 

The seven pre-requisites include seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases, establishing a minimum testing regimen, creating a robust contact tracing system, identifying isolation facilities, finalizing and following the Oregon Health Authority’s guidelines to protect employees and consumers, having sufficient capacity to handle ongoing cases and having enough PPE on hand. 

For a complete look at the Governor’s plan, please visit the State of Oregon website.  

As the state rolls out more information this week and next we’ll keep you informed on what that means for you. 

Lane County is Preparing

The Lane County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss its efforts and move forward to make sure we are in compliance with the state’s guidelines. After discussing a proposed Blueprint for Reopening Lane County, the Board endorsed the plan. You can watch a webcast and access the meeting materials including the Blueprint on the County’s website.

The Blueprint for Reopening Lane County will follow the Governor’s laid out phases. Once Phase 1 begins in Lane County it’s expected to last several weeks and to allow for small social gatherings and limited reopening of some businesses that are better positioned to maintain physical distance for their customers and employees. The County is preparing to apply to the state to start this phase but to be clear, as of today we are not yet in it. The Governor has stated the earliest Phase 1 may start in any county in Oregon is May 15. Lane County is positioning itself to be ready to begin Phase 1 as soon as the State allows and approves of our petition. 

If all criteria are still being met the County would move to Phase 2, which would likely expand the number of people allowed to gather in groups, allow for non-essential travel and widen the types of businesses allowed to resume services. After several weeks of Phase 2, if all criteria are still being met, consideration would be made to move to Phase 3. 

Phase 3 would be our new normal for the foreseeable future. It would likely allow an increase in gatherings, unrestricted staffing at work sites, visitors to assisted living facilities and increased seating at bars and restaurants. 

We would like to caution everyone, though, that while it feels great to be thinking about a return to day-to-day life, the Governor’s plan may change based on new circumstances and that may require changes to the County’s plan. 

when safe to open

Oregon will use a careful, step-by-step process to safely reopen our state based on clear public health criteria and signs our health care system is able to respond to a spike in new infections. Some counties will be eligible to begin limited reopening of additional business sectors as early as May 15 if they demonstrate they have met all requirements for reopening. These requirements include:

  • See fewer Oregonians getting sick from COVID-19 or have fewer than 5 hospitalizations
  • Have sufficient COVID-19 testing and contact tracing capability
  • Establish plans for supporting the isolation and quarantine of people who are sick from COVID-19
  • Have the hospital capacity to handle any surge in COVID-19 cases
  • Have enough safety equipment for health care workers

Local Recovery

City staff, regional partners and members of our business community are working together on plans for our long-term community recovery. Our Emergency Operations Center team also now includes staff who are focusing solely on long-term recovery efforts. The developing plan includes business and employment recovery assistance, housing assistance and development support such as process improvements and public-led projects, as well as the City’s Cultural Services, events and activities that bring engaging experiences to the community. At the May 11 City of Eugene Council work session there will be a presentation to Council on this work. You can follow this link to find all upcoming public meetings.

We Can All Still Help

It’s also important to keep in mind our ability to progress through these phases quickly depends upon every resident actively participating in keeping themselves healthy and continuing to make smart choices. 

Practice good hygiene, wash your hands often and stay home if you are feeling sick. Wearing a mask in public and crowded areas is still recommended. We are still in this together. 

Progress Toward a Healthy and Safe Community

For the past seven weeks, our COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center has been working to acquire necessary resources, coordinate logistics with our regional partners, maintain critical services and identify community needs to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Eugene.  

Watch the full video here.

We are proud of the work this team has done in a short amount of time, many serving outside of their normal scope of work to help manage the COVID-19 response in Eugene.  

The work we’ve accomplished in our Emergency Operations Center is only part of the story. We are making progress in the fight to flatten the curve of this pandemic in our community with your help. Together we’ve slowed the spread of the virus by staying home and practicing physical distancing. 

Resources for More Information

The City of Eugene is working hard with our partners at Lane County and Springfield to ensure our community has important information about local, state and federal resources to help those who have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. See a list of Community Resources for physical and mental health, food, housing, businesses, employees, schools and children, as well as information in Spanish. Also learn how you can help.  

Wondering what’s open at the City? Get the latest information at City Services – What’s Open? 

Our partners also have a significant amount of information available online. Please visit these resources for the most up to date information: