Tag: open

Disney’s Swan Reserve hotel looks to open summer 2021

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, the newest hotel planned for the Swan and Dolphin Resort complex, is scheduled to open in summer 2021, according to a recent news release offering a first look from the top floor.



Walt Disney World Dolphin over a body of water: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.


© Walt Disney World Swan And Dolph/Walt Disney World Swan And Dolph/TNS
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

The 14-story hotel is planned to have 349 guest rooms, including 149 suites and two presidential suites. The top floor will be an event space with views of the resort and Disney theme parks.

The hotel will also feature its own signature bar and restaurant as well as a health club and a pool.

The news of the Swan Reserve’s scheduled opening comes as Orlando hotels are battered by a tourism crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of hotel employees have been laid off.

Data analysts STR put occupancy in Central Florida hotels at 31.9% for the week of Nov. 7, a drop of more than 60% from last year. STR doesn’t predict full capacity to return until 2024.

The space is already taking reservations for group events and weddings.

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This Time, Washington Recreation Lands Remain Open Despite Rocketing COVID-19 Rates | Community

As cases of COVID-19 surge across Washington and the country, business are closing yet again, hospital beds again are filling and health officials are urging people to avoid holiday travel (at least that’s new).

It all feels familiar, except for one major difference: Washington land managers and recreation czars aren’t urging folks to avoid the outdoors, nor are they closing lands to public access.

In the spring, roughly 7 million acres of state-owned land closed in hopes of preventing travel. Beloved local gems like Mount Spokane and Riverside State Park were suddenly off limits. Those lucky enough to live near green space were urged to take a walk in a local park.

This time it’s different.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, for instance, is not making any new changes due to the viral surge. The Washington State Parks system is closing indoor activities, but parklands remain open. It’s a similar story at the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

“We understand the physical and mental benefits of being able to get outside to fish, hunt, hike, wildlife watch and do other activities at this time,” said WDFW spokeswoman Staci Lehman in an email. “We are reminding people to please be responsible and respectful of others they encounter while outside and do their best to social distance from those not in their immediate party and to wear masks when that isn’t possible and where appropriate.”

That difference in approach reflects a greater understanding of the virus and the fact that it’s fall, not spring, said Jon Snyder, the recreation policy advisor for Gov. Jay Inslee.

“We can see that we can’t tie many cases to outdoor recreation cases,” he said.

In particular, the spring closures were aimed at preventing travel. With several popular hunting and fishing seasons opening — lowland trout and coastal fishing in particular — officials worried the surge of travel would spread the virus to rural communities.

“We do not have anything going on right now that gets thousands of people crossing the state for fishing,” Snyder said.

In 2018 and 2019 WDFW sold about 160,000 annual fishing licenses prior to opening day. The agency does not track where people fish, according to Peter Vernie, the licensing department manager. Vernie doesn’t believe people travel far for the opener because WDFW stocks so many lakes.

The bigger concern for WDFW was reports of “shoulder-to-shoulder” fishing at popular lakes, said Lehman.

Although the spring closures were deeply unpopular, leading to “Let Us Fish” protests and vocal dissension among some Fish and Wildlife commissioners, Snyder defends them as necessary.

“Find any state that didn’t close and compare us to them,” he said. “At the time we just really needed to crush mobility.”

Brock Millern, a recreation and conservation manager for DNR, echoed Snyder. The mental and physical health benefits of going outside, combined with the increase in knowledge and decrease in good weather, has prompted a much different response.

Still, he cautioned that closures could happen.

“I think it’s possible

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Washington recreation lands remain open despite rocketing COVID-19 rates

As cases of COVID-19 surge across Washington and the country, business are closing yet again – as hospital beds again are filling – and health officials are urging people to avoid holiday travel (at least that’s new).

It all feels familiar, except for one major difference: Washington land managers and recreation czars aren’t urging folks to avoid the outdoors, nor are they closing lands to public access.

In the spring, roughly 7 million acres of state-owned land closed in hopes of preventing travel. Beloved local gems like Mount Spokane and Riverside State Park were suddenly off limits. Those lucky enough to live near green space were urged to talk a walk in a local park.

This time it’s different.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, for instance, is not making any new changes due to the viral surge. The Washington State Parks system is closing indoor activities, but parklands remain open. It’s a similar story at the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

“We understand the physical and mental benefits of being able to get outside to fish, hunt, hike, wildlife watch and do other activities at this time,” said WDFW spokeswoman Staci Lehman in an email. “We are reminding people to please be responsible and respectful of others they encounter while outside and do their best to social distance from those not in their immediate party and to wear masks when that isn’t possible and where appropriate.”

That difference in approach reflects a greater understanding of the virus and the fact that it’s fall, not spring, said Jon Snyder, the recreation policy advisor for Gov. Jay Inslee.

“We can see that we can’t tie many cases to outdoor recreation cases,” he said.

In particular, the spring closures were aimed at preventing travel. With several popular hunting and fishing seasons opening – lowland trout and coastal fishing in particular – officials worried the surge of travel would spread the virus to rural communities.

“We do not have anything going on right now that gets thousands of people crossing the state for fishing,” Snyder said.

In 2018 and 2019 WDFW sold about 160,000 annual fishing licenses prior to opening day. The agency does not track where people fish, according to Peter Vernie, the licensing department manager. Vernie doesn’t believe people travel far for the opener because WDFW stocks so many lakes.

The bigger concern for WDFW was reports of “shoulder-to-shoulder” fishing at popular lakes, said Lehman.

Although the spring closures were deeply unpopular, leading to ”Let Us Fish” protests and vocal dissension among some Fish and Wildlife commissioners, Snyder defends them as necessary.

“Find any state that didn’t close and compare us to them,” he said. “At the time we just really needed to crush mobility.”

Brock Millern, a recreation and conservation manager for DNR, echoed Snyder. The mental and physical health benefits of going outside, combined with the increase in knowledge and decrease in good weather, has prompted a much different response.

Still, he cautioned that closures could happen.

“I

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A door may be cracking open for Americans to travel to Europe again

Two new Covid-19 testing programs may be the key to unlocking travel between the United States and Europe.



a large clock tower towering over the city of london


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Select passengers flying on American Airlines, British Airways and United Airlines flights are eligible to participate in testing programs that are evaluating whether preflight Covid-19 tests can be used to relax travel restrictions imposed by both countries.

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The two programs, however, are quite different. Here is what to know about each.

American Airlines and British Airways

On Nov. 17, American Airlines and British Airways announced the launch of an optional Covid-19 testing trial on flights from the U.S. to London.

The testing program will begin on Nov. 25 on flights to Heathrow Airport departing from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (Flight AA50), New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (BA114) and Los Angeles International Airport (BA268). A second flight originating from JFK (AA106) will be added to the program at a future date, according to an American Airlines’ press release.

Passengers who volunteer for the program will undergo three free Covid-19 tests as follows:

  • Test 1: A self-administered RT-PCR (nasal) test taken at home via a virtual consultation with a medical professional 72 hours prior to departure
  • Test 2: A LAMP (nasal) test taken upon landing at Heathrow Airport
  • Test 3: A self-administered saliva test taken at home three days after arriving in the U.K. 

The three-test approach is specific to the trial, said David Evans, joint CEO at Collinson, a global travel company that began operating two Covid-19 testing facilities at Heathrow for outbound travelers in mid-October.

The goal “is to capture data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the different tests used at different stages,” he said.



a person standing in front of a building: Results of the pilot program by American Airlines and British Airways will be shared with the U.S. and U.K. governments in hopes of relaxing travel restrictions between the two countries.


© Provided by CNBC
Results of the pilot program by American Airlines and British Airways will be shared with the U.S. and U.K. governments in hopes of relaxing travel restrictions between the two countries.

“RT-PCR tests are the ‘gold standard’ … because they are even more sensitive than LAMP tests, but they also take anywhere between six to 24 hours to process,” Evans said. “RT-LAMP tests — which are both highly effective and can be processed in around 60 minutes — are ideal for an airport environment as they can be processed on-site.”

Even if all tests are negative, passengers will still need to self-isolate in the U.K.

The trial will end after 500 customers have been tested under the three-test approach, said Janine Brown, an American Airlines’ communications manager.  

“The trial is being conducted with the aim of showing that testing can play a role in reducing the need for quarantine,” Brown told CNBC’s Global Traveler. “The U.K. government has also said recently it is evaluating testing as a means to reduce the self-isolation period.”



a man holding a sign: Heathrow Airport is said to be exploring preflight testing trials on additional routes from the U.S.


© Provided by CNBC
Heathrow Airport is said to be exploring preflight testing trials on additional routes from the U.S.

Evans said research shows the U.K. alone is losing 32 million British pounds ($42.3 million) every day due to lack of flight

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After years of planning, new 304-room downtown Tacoma hotel is open for business

Wednesday morning marked a landmark launch in downtown Tacoma with the opening of the new Marriott Tacoma Downtown hotel next to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

“We’re officially open,” said Ben Osgood, general manager of the hotel. “We’ve signed all the documents and the doors are open.”

Osgood spoke to The News Tribune not long after the official 9 a.m. opening.

There was no pomp and circumstance with a large crowd of officials to mark the start, given that Pierce County is now awash in its third surge of COVID-19 cases in the pandemic.

“It’s a little quiet, to say the least,” Osgood said. “But …. we are receiving reservations as we speak.”

For tourism officials, that’s good news.

“This is a big day for Pierce County, and we’re excited to officially welcome Marriott Tacoma Downtown into the Tacoma hotel community,” said Dean Burke, president and CEO of Travel Tacoma – Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, via email Wednesday.

Adapting to change

The hotel, with 22 floors and 304 guest rooms, has been a goal for the city since the convention center’s completion in 2004.

The site’s groundbreaking on Aug. 8, 2017, was arranged with the help of a feng shui expert, focused on every celebratory detail down to the date itself to instill good luck on the project.

Fast forward to 2020: Attention to detail now is focused on providing safe service in a pandemic.

Opening plans called for what Osgood describes as a “big pivot” following Gov. Jay Inslee’s new orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Really, the biggest change that we had to pivot on just in the last three, four days is we are unfortunately unable to open our restaurant,” Osgood said.

Staff had trained for weeks planning for a thriving indoor dining scene.

Instead, guests now can experience a revamped room service with quick turnaround time.

“Our interim dining program … it’s not the traditional room service that you would expect where you get to your room and, an hour and a half after you order, your food shows up on the big metal plate (with) all the fancy dinnerware,” Osgood said.

“This is more on demand, a la carte experience that will be delivered to your room or available for grab and go in the lobby within 15 minutes of your order. So it’s hot and fresh. It competes with your fast casual restaurants. Everything’s in compostable packaging. It’s a really good program, and it keeps it actually very affordable for the guest.”

Other amenities for now are either scaled down or temporarily off-limits, such as the pool, spa and fitness center.

Cleaning, air filtration

Cleaning, another big issue top of mind with guests trying to avoid COVID-19, follows a pandemic protocol.

“Basically, anything that can’t be sanitized in the guest room is removed.,” Osgood said, “and available by request only. We’re going pretty much paperless. So QR codes, compendiums on the TV.”

On-screen “compendiums” are best described as a digital concierge,

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New Marriott Tacoma Downtown hotel is open

The lobby of the new Marriott Tacoma Downtown hotel. The 304-room hotel officially opened Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020.

The lobby of the new Marriott Tacoma Downtown hotel. The 304-room hotel officially opened Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020.

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Wednesday morning marked a landmark launch in downtown Tacoma with the opening of the new Marriott Tacoma Downtown hotel next to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

“We’re officially open,” said Ben Osgood, general manager of the hotel. “We’ve signed all the documents and the doors are open.”

Osgood spoke to The News Tribune not long after the official 9 a.m. opening.

There was no pomp and circumstance with a large crowd of officials to mark the start, given that Pierce County is now awash in its third surge of COVID-19 cases in the pandemic.

“It’s a little quiet, to say the least,” Osgood said. “But …. we are receiving reservations as we speak.”

For tourism officials, that’s good news.

“This is a big day for Pierce County, and we’re excited to officially welcome Marriott Tacoma Downtown into the Tacoma hotel community,” said Dean Burke, president and CEO of Travel Tacoma – Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, via email Wednesday.

Adapting to change

The hotel, with 22 floors and 304 guest rooms, has been a goal for the city since the convention center’s completion in 2004.

The site’s groundbreaking on Aug. 8, 2017, was arranged with the help of a feng shui expert, focused on every celebratory detail down to the date itself to instill good luck on the project.

Fast forward to 2020: Attention to detail now is focused on providing safe service in a pandemic.

Opening plans called for what Osgood describes as a “big pivot” following Gov. Jay Inslee’s new orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Really, the biggest change that we had to pivot on just in the last three, four days is we are unfortunately unable to open our restaurant,” Osgood said.

Staff had trained for weeks planning for a thriving indoor dining scene.

Instead, guests now can experience a revamped room service with quick turnaround time.

“Our interim dining program … it’s not the traditional room service that you would expect where you get to your room and, an hour and a half after you order, your food shows up on the big metal plate (with) all the fancy dinnerware,” Osgood said.

“This is more on demand, a la carte experience that will be delivered to your room or available for grab and go in the lobby within 15 minutes of your order. So it’s hot and fresh. It competes with your fast casual restaurants. Everything’s in compostable packaging. It’s a really good program, and it keeps it actually very affordable for the guest.”

Other amenities for now are either scaled down or temporarily off-limits, such as the pool, spa and fitness center.

Cleaning, air filtration

Cleaning, another big issue top of mind with guests trying to avoid COVID-19, follows a pandemic protocol.

“Basically, anything that can’t be sanitized in the guest room is removed.,” Osgood said, “and available by request only.

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Cambria hotel White Water open after remodel, Vogue features

Talk about opening with a big splash. The newly remodeled White Water hotel in Cambria recently got a shoutout from Vogue magazine.

There had been months of local curiosity and online speculation about the extensive, expensive and lengthy remodel of White Water and the neighboring 9Iron Inn, which is now part of White Water, on Moonstone Beach Drive. The makeover included a dramatically changed, starkly dark exterior.

But despite numerous inquiries from communities members and The Cambrian starting in March, Santa Monica-based property owner PRG Hospitality Group held its informational cards close to the chest until recently.

The hotel’s opening was delayed several times. It had originally been slated for early spring, then early summer, then the end of July, according to online posts and emails from Kevan Beall, Central Coast regional director of PRG Hospitality Group.

Rooms at White Water have been available since September, PRG spokewoman Raluca Slate said, but the lobby redo wasn’t finished until October, so that was considered the official grand opening month.

White Water’s renovation caught the attention of Vogue writer Ella Riley-Adams.

“Located just off Cambria’s Moonstone Beach (the place names alone have a transportative effect), the 25-room property’s creative direction has been defined by Nina Freudenberger, an interior designer known for her private home work and curation of effortlessly cool spaces in the books ‘Surf Shack’ and ‘Bibliostyle,’ ” Riley-Adams wrote in her Nov. 10 article.

The inn’s refreshed rooms and common spaces reflect the influence of Freudenberger, an award-winning designer who wanted the lodgings to have a “Danish seaside feel” that reflected “the textures that set Cambria apart from its beach brethren further south.”

As Freudenberger drove north to Cambria from her home in Los Angeles, ”She was struck by how the landscape evolved along the way,” Riley-Adams wrote. “Rather than silky sand, the waves crash onto rocky tide pools.”

“It feels wild and exciting,” Freudenberger told Vogue.

The décor at White Water includes birch wood, canvas and vintage textiles, as well as fireplaces in each room and an outdoor soaking tub.

In addition to the hotel, Riley-Adams’ article touts such Cambria businesses as The Sea Chest Oyster Bar, Soto’s True Earth Market, Madeline’s restaurant. She also praises the gluten-free blue corn waffles at The Hidden Kitchen, which has locations in Cambria and Cayucos.

The Vogue article, which notes Cambria’s proximity to Paso Robles wine country, also mentions the Moonstone Beach boardwalk and the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, a 430-acre, community-owned oceanfront property with blufftop trails and a lush Monterey pine forest.

History and remodel of White Water hotel

According to former White Water co-owner Elaine Beckham, who lives now in Los Osos, the inn opened in 1988 with her parents, Cyril and Ivy Kilgannon, at the helm as management consultants and hosts. The Kilgannons had been hired by managing partners, developer and builders Rick Low and Tom Koon.

Beckham recalled that, after Cyril Kilgannon died in 1990, she and her husband Paul Beckham came to the area to help, she said,

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Oregon state parks, ski areas and outdoor recreation stay open amid new COVID-19 shutdown

As Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced new limits on business and socializing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, she also emphasized that Oregon’s outdoor recreation would remain open. 



a man standing next to a waterfall: Silver Falls State Park reopened to the public on May 19, 2020 after being closed since March due to COVID-19 limits.


© Zach Urness / Statesman Journal
Silver Falls State Park reopened to the public on May 19, 2020 after being closed since March due to COVID-19 limits.

“We strongly encourage outdoor recreation and camping,” Brown said in a news conference Friday. “As such, our parks and playgrounds are staying open. Breathing the fresh, if not chilly air, will help every single one of us.”

The remark came in contrast to the statewide closure of developed recreation sites during the “Stay Home, Save Lives” measures taken last spring that lasted from March into May.  

This time around, Oregon’s state parks and campgrounds will remain open without changes and all recreation facilities on federal lands will stay open per normal for the winter season, state and federal officials said. 

Even places that bring people a bit closer together, such as ski areas, can open and operate if they get enough snow, Brown’s spokesman Elizabeth Merah said. 

Ski areas across Oregon have been planning for a different type of year that emphasizes limiting the number of people in lodges, wearing masks and keeping people distanced.

With snow falling in heavy amounts in the mountains, some ski areas may be able to open by Thanksgiving, although most had planned to open in December.  

“We had already planned to move the majority of our indoor activities outdoors this season,” said Dave Tragethon, spokesman for Mount Hood Meadows. “None of our ski lessons are assembling indoors — it’s all on the snow.” 

As for eating food indoors, Tragethon said they’ve developed a take-out system for its restaurants that they can implement.   

“It’s easy to shift to that,” he said. 

Brown’s release did say that outdoor zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities and outdoor pools would be closed. 

But, that doesn’t apply to anything outdoor recreation-related, Merah said. She stressed that limiting the number of people getting together for outdoor adventures was the most critical step in slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

“What is critical for all of these activities is that people abide by the limitations on social get-togethers,” Merah said. “That means, if you’re going to go skiing or go visit a park, you must do it in a group of no more than six people total, from no more than two households.” 

Havel, spokesman for Oregon’s state parks and campgrounds, said the tricky part would be communicating Oregon’s new travel advisory that urges people to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel and asks anyone coming from out-of-state to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“When people are in a campsite or trailer, they do a pretty good job of staying with their family, because it’s a natural thing to do,” he said. “The question is about people visiting campgrounds from out of state and then going out to grocery stores in nearby communities. So that’s something

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Emirates eyes return to profitability in 2022 as new travel corridors open

An Emirates Airbus 380-800 about to land.

Fabrizio Gandolfo | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Emirates expects to return to profitability in the next two years, as new travel corridors open and the global aviation industry attempts to rebound from the worst crisis in its history. 

“I believe that within the next 18 months, two years, we will return ourselves to profitability,” Emirates President Tim Clark told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Sunday.  

“We will certainly be cash positive during the course of the back end of next year, returning to profitability in (financial year) 2022-2023,” he added.

Earlier this week, Emirates Group reported a loss of $3.8 billion for the first half of the year, its first loss in 30 years, as the coronavirus-related lockdowns brought global air passenger travel to a halt. Revenue collapsed 74 percent to $3.7 billion dollars.

“There are a lot of things that can change that,” Clark said, flagging a number of key concerns still hanging over the sector. “We are an international company trading on the whole of the world’s operations.”

His comments come after new warnings from IATA that the industry cannot slash costs sufficiently to neutralize severe cash burn and avoid bankruptcies in 2021.

“Cash is king,” Clark said. “As long as we can keep our cash position in good shape, we believe that we’ll be ready to re-enter the markets, as well and as large as we always did.”

Emirates said it was tapping into its cash reserves to ensure it had access to sufficient funding to sustain operations. It has cut almost 25 percent of its staff, and the Government of Dubai stepped in to inject $2 billion by way of an equity investment in an effort to support its recovery. 

“We believe things will restore themselves fairly quickly. I’m not one of those people who believe it’s going to take a long time or that it won’t come back in the way that it was,” Clark added.

“I tend to believe we will be as good as we were in the pre-Covid days as an airline.”  

UK-UAE travel corridor

The United Kingdom this week added the UAE to its travel corridor list, meaning travellers flying from the UAE to the U.K. after Nov. 14 will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days. 

“The Government has been working for five months to try and persuade the United Kingdom government that we should be put on their list,” Clark said, praising the decision as “a major boost to tourism in terms of travel between the two countries.”

The U.K. is among the most critically important markets on the Emirates network for passenger travel demand and profitability, with the Dubai to London Heathrow route making up the highest share of departing seats in 2019. 

“Already we’re experiencing quite an increase in the booking velocity in our systems in regards to people coming out to Dubai from the United Kingdom post the second of December after lockdown finishes,”

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Oregon’s outdoors, ski areas can stay open amid second shutdown

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Silver Falls State Park reopened to the public on May 19, 2020 after being closed since March due to COVID-19 limits. (Photo: Zach Urness / Statesman Journal)

As Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced new limits on business and socializing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, she also emphasized that Oregon’s outdoor recreation would remain open. 

“We strongly encourage outdoor recreation and camping,” Brown said in a news conference Friday. “As such, our parks and playgrounds are staying open. Breathing the fresh, if not chilly air, will help every single one of us.”

The remark came in contrast to the statewide closure of developed recreation sites during the “Stay Home, Save Lives” measures taken last spring that lasted from March into May.  

This time around, Oregon’s state parks and campgrounds will remain open without changes and all recreation facilities on federal lands will stay open per normal for the winter season, state and federal officials said. 

Even places that bring people a bit closer together, such as ski areas, can open and operate if they get enough snow, Brown’s spokesman Elizabeth Merah said. 

Ski areas across Oregon have been planning for a different type of year that emphasizes limiting the number of people in lodges, wearing masks and keeping people distanced.

With snow falling in heavy amounts in the mountains, some ski areas may be able to open by Thanksgiving, although most had planned to open in December.  

“We had already planned to move the majority of our indoor activities outdoors this season,” said Dave Tragethon, spokesman for Mount Hood Meadows. “None of our ski lessons are assembling indoors — it’s all on the snow.” 

As for eating food indoors, Tragethon said they’ve developed a take-out system for its restaurants that they can implement.   

“It’s easy to shift to that,” he said. 

Brown’s release did say that outdoor zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities and outdoor pools would be closed. 

But, that doesn’t apply to anything outdoor recreation-related, Merah said. She stressed that limiting the number of people getting together for outdoor adventures was the most critical step in slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

“What is critical for all of these activities is that people abide by the limitations on social get-togethers,” Merah said. “That means, if you’re going to go skiing or go visit a park, you must do it in a group of no more than six people total, from no more than two households.” 

Havel, spokesman for Oregon’s state parks and campgrounds, said the tricky part would be communicating Oregon’s new travel advisory that urges people to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel and asks anyone coming from out-of-state to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“When people are in a campsite or trailer, they do a pretty good job of staying with their family, because it’s a natural thing to do,” he said. “The question is about people visiting campgrounds from out of state and then going out to grocery stores in nearby communities.

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