State To Lift Mask Mandate March 19; Florence COVID-19 Update; OHA Report on COVID-19; Hotel and Conference Center Update

State To Lift Mask Mandate March 19

The Oregon Health Authority, just announced that it would be lifting the mandatory mask mandate for indoor spaces effective March 19th.  A follow up by the Oregon Department of Education’s director Colt Gill says schools will be prepared for this date and they will take necessary actions to ensure students can safely remain in class.  ODE and OHA are in progress of  updating safety protocols for quarantine, contact tracing and testing that meet the current conditions of the pandemic.  Even though restrictions will be lifted it is the advice of state officials to continue using masks in high risk groups like the unvaccinated, immunocompromised and individuals 65 and older or with underlying health conditions.  In addition to the lifting of the mandate, Governor Kate Brown also said she would be lifting the emergency declaration for the state as of April first.

Florence COVID-19 Update

When Lane County updated their COVID-19 information yesterday if included 19 more cases for the Florence area.  Although it was for a 5 day period it was still an alarming number as cases throughout the county continue to be trending downward.  Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health did not offer any insight when asked about the trends in Florence.  One positive outlook from the numbers is that the two week total continues to go down and the number is at 73 down from 90 on Friday the 18th, when the last numbers were published.  While the nearing of the end of mask mandates approaches, health officials are still saying that they are one way to curb the spread of the virus along with hand washing and self quarantine when testing positive for the virus.

OHA Report on COVID-19

The Oregon Health Authority is reporting 1,160 new cases yesterday and a slight rise in deaths as 35 more individuals have been added to the numbers.  On a better note the number of hospitalizations continues to inch down with the number dropping below 600 yesterday to 579 which is 18 fewer than Tuesday’s numbers.  The number of Intensive Care beds in use rose to 110.  Lane County’s total number for yesterday on their site was 114, but the report distributed by the OHA last night had trimmed that number to 87.

Hotel and Conference Center Update

Florence Urban Renewal Agency continue to plan for development of the property across from the events center.  Assistant City Manager Megan Messmer gave an update and overview of the plan that had been established at last night’s FURA meeting.  The agency also heard from Matt Braun of Braun Hospitality which is working to develop the property in conjunction with Windham hotels.  Braun told the committee that with his time line he had hoped to begin construction later this year on a 90+ hotel and conference center.

“Right now we are looking at a groundbreaking of 7-14-2022, so that’s a pretty exciting date to hold in our mind.

Braun says the individuals are in place that will develop and ultimately facilitate the construction of the project.

“We have continued to advance on-boarding designs we have selected a full design team including our traffic engineer, our architecture, structural, civil, landscapers and others that are a member of our team.”


Braun says Construction and design will also include spaces for guests with toy haulers for those visiting the dunes.