News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters facing COVID-19 impacts

Editor’s note: As the impact of COVID-19 is a rapidly unfolding situation, The Nugget will update information at The Nugget News and on Facebook as it becomes available.

Sisters was caught up during the past week in the floodtide of closures and cancellations accompanying efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Sisters schools closed as of Friday, March 13, and will remain closed until April 6 as a mandated statewide closure overlapped with Sisters’ two-week spring break. All activities, including athletic practices, are canceled. Sisters Park & Recreation, as per their policy, is following the lead of the Sisters School District and canceling programming.

The Sisters School District is, however, providing meals for students in need. Meals are available at Sisters Elementary School. Seating is available outside or meals can be taken “grab and go.” Breakfast is available 8 to 8:30 a.m .; lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

Sisters Fire Chief Roger Johnson told The Nugget on Sunday that the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District is fully staffed with no one out for any reason, and they continue to be ready to respond to any community emergency — though they have made operational changes to account for COVID-19.

Virtually all local public activities and gatherings — from arts to athletics — have been canceled at least through the end of March.

The Deschutes Public Library is closed. The library is directing patrons to online resources at Deschutes Library Downloads.

Shops remain open and restaurants remain open for take-out only. All are hopeful that the local community will continue to support them through the crisis. Some businesses are offering curbside service and/or delivery. Local businesses have instituted sanitization procedures.

The Sisters Kiwanis Food Bank seeks to remain open.

“We feel so strongly that we need to keep this food bank open for the people who need it,” Tom Hespe, food bank director told The Nugget. “I can’t tell you that we may not have to close, but right now there is no plan to do so.”

Volunteers are asked to wash their hands thoroughly on a repeated basis and to regularly use hand sanitizer. Carts are being sanitized with each use.

“We only allow two clients in at a time. When they come in, we require them to hand-sanitize and we highly encourage them to put on a pair of light plastic gloves.”

He said the bathroom is also made available for thorough hand-washing.

Local grocery outlets have reported that they are unable to provide delivery services due to manpower shortages and high demand in stores.

A Facebook group named Pandemic Partners-Sisters has launched to assist locals with needs to include running errands, picking up groceries and prescriptions, getting help with technology to stay connected to loved ones, providing animal care, etc. Search Facebook for the name and join the group for further information.

As Sisters awaits further impacts and directives regarding the COVID-19 virus, individuals are urged to continue observing good hygiene practices, washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and maintaining distance from other individuals.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author photo

Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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