HOOD RIVER, Ore. (KOIN) — Hood River County has been given the green light to start reopening but many businesses and residents aren’t ready to welcome back visitors.
Hood River Mayor Kate McBride said the county’s approval to enter Phase 1 of reopening is really only meant to benefit people who live in Hood River. She worries about a potential influx of visitors that the town isn’t ready to handle.
“I wish I could say it was but it is not an invitation to come to Hood River,” McBride told KOIN 6 News.
While some businesses in Hood River did reopen on Friday, most aren’t ready to welcome customers yet. The chamber of commerce held a virtual training session for business owners on Thursday to answer questions about Gov. Kate Brown’s new guidelines for restaurants, bars and salons.
City officials said most businesses are still scared to reopen and simply weren’t given enough notice to be ready to open just a day after Brown cleared Hood River County for Phase 1. Businesses that did open on Friday were only open to Hood River residents.
Hotels are still closed, along with popular tourist destinations like Hood River Waterfront Park, Multnomah Falls and Angel’s Rest. Some small local parks are open but U.S. Forest Service lands in the Gorge are still off-limits. The ban on non-essential travel is still in place.
McBride said people can now make appointments to see their doctors and dentists and will soon be able to schedule hair cuts.
“We’re very happy that we’re going to be able to open those kinds of things—those are things locals use and need,” said McBride. “But the general tourism things that people do—really none of those are open.”