The City of Sisters continues to be in a declared state of emergency. This declaration is scheduled to last until June 24. The City has been preparing to phase out of a state of emergency while sustaining adjusted policies and new programs that were implemented by way of administrative order (such as utility service billing relief and the right-of-way parklet program). To extend those temporary policies beyond the sunsetting emergency declaration will require adoption of resolutions by the City Council scheduled for the June 24 City Council meeting.

The focus over the past month — three weeks of Phase 1 re-opening and the first week of Phase 2 — has been balancing public health and economic prosperity. The City has continued to monitor the health data closely. The City continues to support the State (Oregon Health Authority) and County (Deschutes Public Health) restrictions and recommendations. The City does not employ any public health officials and has relied on County Public Health for their expertise. Deschutes County has maintained countywide data and other resources at: www.deschutes.org/health/page/covid-19-novel-coronavirus.

On June 9, the City Budget Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2020/21 budget (beginning July 1). The City’s financial health is stable, even with uncertainty and an anticipated reduction of revenue associated with tourism and overnight stays. The budget provides financial assistance to local businesses including a reduction in business license fees, funds for procurement of supplies such as handwashing stations and barrels for the parklet program, and other flexible funds that can be used during the rest of 2020 and first half of 2021.

The enduring strength of the Sisters community for one another has been inspiring. Staying the course will be important over the coming weeks and months. If you’re able, check in with a local nonprofit organization and learn how to offer support. As always, now more than ever, shop at local businesses to the extent you can. If you need information or support, reach out to the City and we’ll work to get you what you need whether it can be provided by the City, County, State, or Federal government or a local nonprofit in our community. Learn more at www.ci.sisters.or.us.