: Brooke Weeber

How to Stay Safe During Spring Break in Oregon

Here’s a look at how what's open right now and how Oregon's tourism industry helping protect travelers from the spread of COVID-19.
March 13, 2020 (Updated March 23, 2020)

If you’re headed to Oregon for spring break — or you’re a local who’s decided to explore your own backyard — we’re here to welcome you with a friendly “elbow bump” and advice about what you can expect here in the Beaver State. With the number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus growing nationwide, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced social distancing measures to curb the spread of the illness. As of March 16, 2020, there’s a ban on all public gatherings of more than 25 people in Oregon and as of Sunday, March 15th, the CDC recommended against public gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. 

However you choose to spend these next few weeks, enjoy the time for family togetherness. Take a hike in the fresh air. Play games. Read a few good books. Wash your hands. Support a local restaurant by buying a gift card to dine out in the future. Stockpile goodwill instead of toilet paper. Plan your next Oregon trip. We’ll be here when it’s all clear again.

Weighing Your Decision to Travel

“Making a decision to travel at times like these is a very personal decision and individual to every family’s situation,” advises Richard D’Ambrosio of the Family Travel Association. “We recommend that adults traveling with children, needing to make the best determination they can, should consult with their family physicians, as well as the websites of noted medical authorities.”

With reduced flight capacity and CDC warnings about international travel to contend with, physicians report many families are canceling international trips in favor of travel closer to home, if any.

We are really pushing an aggressive strategy of containment of the virus by social isolation,” explains Dr. Bruce Birk of Portland’s Pediatric Associates of the Northwest. “This is not a great time to travel because you might find yourself stuck in a far-away-from-home location. The situation is changing rapidly so it is very hard to predict where it is safe to go.

Getting to Oregon

If you’re flying into Portland International Airport, know that the airport has increased the frequency of cleaning throughout the terminal, at parking pay stations, inside shuttle buses and at information booths. Many airport businesses also have increased surface cleaning of their spaces and provided hand sanitizer for their staff and customers. The same is true at Eugene Airport, with nothing specific announced for the airports in Medford, Redmond or North Bend.  

Amtrak announced enhanced protocols on trains and at stations with surfaces, handrails, doorknobs and handles being cleaned multiple times a day, and in some cases, on an hourly basis. Sanitizer and disinfectant wipes also are readily available for customers and employees. 

In Portland, TriMet staff is cleaning TriMet buses and MAX trains using disinfectant spray every night with an increased focus on touch point surfaces, including poles, doors and other surfaces people will touch or hold onto while traveling.

Oregon Welcome Centers are maintaining strict sanitation guidelines. Some facilities like the Boardman Welcome Center are closed to the public but will provide visitor information by phone.

Head to the coast in search of whales during Whale Watching Week. (Photo by Mountains Legacy)

Getting Out in Nature

Spending time in nature is one of the best ways to avoid large crowds and the spread of germs during this time. Fortunately, every corner of the state has natural wonders ready to be explored.

Oregon State Parks is implementing some changes to promote a healthy environment for visitors. The department will not be utilizing volunteers at whale watching stations along the coast for this spring’s Whale Watching Week, March 21-29, 2020. This year, Oregon State Park is going virtual with the program with a live stream featuring park rangers and whale experts available for questions via chat every day from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Oregon State Parks will be closed on March 23 until further notice.

For more inspiration about exploring Oregon’s great outdoors, check out these trip ideas:

The Portland Japanese Garden is closed until further notice.

Around the State

Portland Region

Portland Children’s Museum has temporarily closed, and will monitor the situation. 

OMSI has temporarily closed through mid-April, 2020.

Oregon Zoo has closed through April 8th. 

Additionally, while libraries, Powell’s Bookstores and swimming pools in the area are closed, playgrounds, parks, golf courses and other natural areas such as the International Rose Test Garden are open and encourage families to follow social distancing measures and not closely congregate with groups of people.

Portland Japanese Garden has temporarily closed until further notice.

Lan Su Chinese Garden is closed to the public effective March 17, 2020 until further notice.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast Aquarium has temporarily closed, effective March 16.

Tillamook Creamery has temporarily closed their visitor center.

Willamette Valley

Enchanted Forest has temporarily closed, and will continue to monitor the situation in April.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum has closed. All activities and programs will be postponed.

The adjacent Wings & Waves Waterpark is temporarily closed while the staff assesses the governor’s order regarding social distancing.

Timberline Lodge remains open but the ski area is closed through March 22, 2020.

Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum is closed until further notice. Contact them to reschedule your event if it is due to occur prior to mid-April.

Mt. Hood Meadows, Mt. Hood Skibowl and Timberline Ski Area are halting operations until it is feasible to re-open for ski operation. While Timberline Lodge will remain open, it is waiving its seven-day cancellation policy for guests who decide not travel at this time. Cooper Spur ski resort have increased cleaning in public spaces and installed additional hand-sanitizing stations; it will be closed March 30 – May 7 for a remodel.

Central Oregon

High Desert Museum announced that it will be closed through March 17-29, 2020. It has also canceled spring break camps and daily programs like the Sky Hunters raptor demonstration through April 11. 

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort is temporarily closed.

As of March 18, 2020, Hoodoo Ski Area is closed for the season.

Enjoy the peace and quiet of Oregon's deepest lake.

Southern Oregon

Crater Lake National Park is closed until further notice.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in accordance with the governor’s order regarding large gatherings, has canceled all performances through April 8, 2020. Ticket holders may consider donating their refund back to the theater or seeking a voucher for a future show to help support the organization in these times.

Mt. Ashland Ski Area will be closed for the rest of the season.

Eastern Oregon

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is temporarily closed as of March 20. 

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is closed. Visitors may continue to enjoy BLM trails and open space areas, including the 4.2 miles of developed trails at this site.

The Painted Hills is one of three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. (Photo by Mountains Legacy)

Tips and Resources

  • If you’re planning to attend a specific event, call ahead to verify that the event is still happening.
  • Practice good hygiene while traveling. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Carry hand sanitizer when you’re out in public.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with unclean hands. 
  • If you are in a high-risk group because of your age or pre-existing health conditions, consider staying home. If you feel ill, stay home. 
  • For the latest information on this evolving situation, check in with our COVID-19 Travel Information alerts.

About The

Shellie Bailey-Shah
Shellie Bailey-Shah is travel writer who has the distinction of having visited all seven continents, but she favors her home state of Oregon. She lives with her husband and sons in Portland and has logged thousands of miles behind the wheel of the family's RV.

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