City, County, Chelan and Manson Chambers Speak Out About Coronavirus Measures

By Dennis Rahm

Federal, state, county and local governments are all encouraging residents to stay at home and to practice social distancing in an effort to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. As of Sunday afternoon at least nine states had issued “stay at home/shelter in place” orders and that number will likely continue to grow.

In the Lake Chelan Valley and other areas throughout North Central Washington, many residents are beginning to pose the question of whether there should be a formal ban closing down hotels, motels, campgrounds and overnight rental properties such as AirBnB. On Sunday afternoon, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources announced the closure of campgrounds across the state.

LakeChelanNow reached out on Sunday to Chelan County Commissioner Doug England, Chelan Mayor Bob Goedde, Manson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie Conwell, and Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Steele to gauge their feedback on the issue.

England said the matter merits discussion, and will be on agenda when the county commissioners meet in regular session on Monday, March 23. He said the county needs to explore if restrictions are desirable, if they would be effective and to also examine legalities of additional directives. England stated “there is a need to be concerned, but not hysterical”.

Chelan Mayor Bob Goedde noted how quickly things are changing with the spread of virus, and said it’s certainly worth having discussion about whether additional restrictions should be considered.

Chamber of Commerce Director Steele said it is not appropriate in these times to invite the public to visit Lake Chelan.

Here is the text of a statement issued by Steele Sunday afternoon:

“The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce has had several inquiries over the weekend regarding visitors to our valley. Our organization is committed to supporting businesses, promoting the Lake Chelan Valley and building community when appropriate. These are uncertain times and we must all do our part to responsibly navigate COVID-19. The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce is not promoting our destination to visitors. We have ceased all spring campaigns and promotions. In addition, our county wide effort, Washington’s Playground has worked with our media partner King 5 to postpone the Best of the Northwest Escapes campaign until further notice.

We know these are unsettling and difficult times for our small businesses, but we are asking our members, media partners and all valley businesses to work with us and do as much as we can to prevent the spread of this virus, this includes social distancing and appropriately and responsibly conducting business practices, that may for a time, mean not inviting guests to our valley.”

Debbie Conwell from the Manson Chamber of Commerce also responded with this statement:

“The Manson Chamber of Commerce understands and appreciates the concerns of all our small business in the valley regarding the financial and health impact of the COVID-19 virus. These are uncertain times and affecting all of us in some capacity.   In consideration of limiting the exposure of the virus, it is important for all of us to do our part.  This includes our messaging to guests visiting the valley as we would in ordinary circumstances.

Our stance as a chamber is to adhere to all the state and federal regulations in order to keep our community safe.  That is our first priority.  As a result, we have cancelled all our upcoming events in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus at social and business gatherings.

We are strongly encouraging our members to also adhere to the state and Federal guidelines to keep all gatherings to 10 people or less, adhere to the highest levels of sanitation, and quarantine when they or their employees demonstrate or disclose they are symptomatic.

We are working with all the leaders in our community at every level as together we convey the single message that we will do our part to reduce the spread of this virus.   We will keep you apprised of any changes or updates.

In the meantime, we would like to thank our medical providers and first responders and those providing essential services in our community for their dedicated, thoughtful service.  We stand with you and modify our behaviors and decisions bearing in mind your immediate and long- term challenge to keep our community safe.”

NOTE: News related to the COVID-19 virus changes rapidly. LCN will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available on our Coronavirus page.