News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters navigating COVID-19 response

As new restrictions continue to be imposed on activities, Sisters residents and businesses are trying to navigate an uncertain path.

On Monday, Governor Kate Brown issued a stringent “Stay Home, Save Lives” order that restricts any recreational or social gathering of any size and requires “non-essential businesses” to close. Restaurants will still be able to offer takeout, but gyms, indoor party places such as jump houses for children or laser tag facilities, hair salons, furniture stores, boutiques, ski resorts and museums will be required to close.

Other retail businesses must implement strict social distancing measures and designate an employee or officer charged with ensuring compliance. Retail businesses able to adapt to take-out style shopping — as several have in Sisters — can also remain open.

Childcare facilities will be closed unless they care for the same 10 or fewer children in attendance during the week. Open childcare facilities must prioritize serving children of first responders and parents who work in healthcare or emergency response.

Grocery stores and pharmacies can remain open, with encouragement to maintain social distancing practices.

Violations of the governor’s orders would be a Class C misdemeanor. The full text of the governor’s order is linked in the online version of this story and is available through The Nugget’s Facebook page.

Sgt. William Bailey, public information officer for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office, told The Nugget that the Sheriff’s Office is emphasizing education over enforcement in regard to COVID-19-related restrictions and they do not plan a draconian response to violations.

“If necessary we will contact them (a violator) and educate them on the restrictions and get them to comply that way,” Bailey said.

The city is closing the playground at Cliff Clemens Park, will not open the campground in April as usual, and is trending toward closing the recycling center, said City Manager Cory Misley.

Schools remain closed until April 28. Superintendent Curt Scholl reported that, “after our spring break, on April 6, our staff will begin work to develop core supplemental work to send out to our students... it is our goal to get supplemental materials out as quickly as possible and estimate that we should start disseminating materials no later than Wednesday (April 8).”

Manufacturers and the construction industry may continue operations but must ensure that their employees are maintaining social distancing measures. Some construction activity in Sisters has continued through the restrictions.

Peter Hall, the principal of the ClearPine development at the north end of Pine Street in Sisters told The Nugget, “We pressed the go button on two more housing starts in the ClearPine Collective, a new cluster of cottages in ClearPine’s Phase 6.

With the coronavirus outbreak, it was more a measured decision to push forward with new investment in workers and materials.

Buyer demand has been very strong in ClearPine so far this year, but new homebuyers may be slower to move until the economic picture begins to clear.

Nevertheless, I decided to keep building for the future.

The two new houses will be complete in the September timeframe.

We also made a decision to proceed with construction of ClearPine phase 5, starting March 23.”

Many community activities have been canceled, including the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Department’s annual Community Easter Egg Hunt, the Sisters Folk Festival’s My Own Two Hands Art Auction and Party, Sisters Science Club gatherings and more.

The Nugget will provide continued updates on the status of businesses and events as well as updates on the overall coronavirus situation as they come available at The Nugget News.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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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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