Support local businesses

While visitor numbers are still low, the summer tourism season is here and the Fourth of July weekend is just around the corner, and we are seeing more visitors in Baker County over the last two weeks.

We are excited to see visitors traveling again and the increase in traffic is encouraging for our local businesses that are slowly reopening and adjusting to a new way of doing businesses during COVID-19.

At Travel Baker County our most important concerns are the health and safety of our community citizens and those who choose to visit us, and the continued success of our local hospitality businesses that depend on visitor spending for their financial success.

Our local small business owners and their employees are working harder than ever before to keep their businesses open and keep their employees and customers safe. Visitors are also more vigilant than ever about safety and security while traveling.

We are proud of the work that our local business owners and community members have done to help us reopen safely so far. However, recent outbreaks in Union County and Idaho’s Ada County are a reminder that these are not normal times and we still need to be cautious. This summer tourism season will not be business as usual.

Local hospitality businesses are already working overtime to adapt to the new guidelines they are required to follow, and visitor perception of how well businesses are following these guidelines is increasingly important as they decide where and how to travel this summer.

Community support for following the CDC guidelines will help ensure that our visitors feel safe and welcome as they travel through Baker County:

• Maintaining social distance of 6 feet from others

• Wearing a face covering when in public places where you can’t social distance

• Regular handwashing and sanitizing

While these extra precautions may be an inconvenience, they are some of the most important things we can do right now to support our local small businesses remain open as we move forward rebuilding our local economy. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Timothy Bishop

Travel Baker County

Follow virus precautions

COVID-19 has decimated a large portion of our local economy and the many small businesses that must make the bulk of their profits during our summer tourist season. Our local small business owners and their employees are working harder than ever to keep their businesses open and profitable. There is only so much that they can do in the present environment to be profitable. It is incumbent on all of us here in Baker County to help them any way that we can. These small businesses are essential to our way of life and they are at a critical juncture in their survival.

Whether you believe that COVID is a hoax, no worse than the flu, think it’s terrifying, or are just tired of dealing with it, our local businesses really need your help. With the recent outbreaks in Union County and Ada County, we know the virus is not going away.The science surrounding the virus is ever-changing and we don’t know what the future will look like. All we can do is work with the information, guidelines and regulations that are passed down and help to keep our community safe during these trying times.

Our local businesses MUST adhere to the regulations. For many, their ability to remain insured depends on it. It is up to us to help them. Ignoring the guidance from the state or federal government and the Centers for Disease Control will not help them. Please continue to social distance, wear a face mask if you are able and shop local so that this time next year we can have businesses that weathered this pandemic and are once again here to support our community.

Fred Warner Jr.

Baker City manager

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