COVID-19 Updates for Bend Businesses


Ben Hemson, business advocate for the City of Bend, issued the following letter to local business owners:

Dear Bend Business Owner,

I’ve had the chance to speak with a number of you over the past few days and know the uncertainty that you, and each of your employees, are confronting in the face of coronavirus closures and economic impacts.

I want to assure you that staff in the City’s Economic Development Department, across your City government and at the State level, have been working together on programs that you’ll be able to access. In a rapidly evolving situation like this one, I don’t yet have all the answers on what those programs will look like. When I do, you’ll be the first to know. Expect regular updates from me as we move through this.

In the meantime, here are some immediate items to be aware of:

Restaurant Closures
Yesterday afternoon, Governor Brown announced the required closure of all bars and restaurants for four weeks save for takeout and delivery orders. This requirement took effect at midnight last night.

During this time, City of Bend Code Enforcement staff will ignore temporary sign code restrictions around banners and A-frame signs for restaurants. This allows restaurant operators to advertise that you offer take out or delivery service without requiring a permit or impacting the number of days you can display a banner or A-frame sign annually. As always, please abide by requirements to keep your sidewalk clear for ADA and pedestrian access.

There’s more to come on this front, expect another message from me later this week.

Unemployment Insurance
If this closure creates the need for you to lay off employees, this is the reason for Oregon Unemployment Insurance. You have been paying into this fund for each of your employees and they each have access to it.

The easiest way to access Unemployment Insurance is to apply online; visiting unemployment centers in person is not recommended. You can assist your employees by providing them with computer access.

If you expect your employees will be back to work within four weeks, they won’t have to look for work while receiving unemployment benefits and they will be available to work again when you need them.

For additional business guidance on Unemployment Insurance click here, or reach out to me directly and I’ll get you to the right person to answer your questions.

Business Resources
You can find a list of available business resources and assistance programs at As more programs and opportunities become available, I’ll post regular updates there.

In every conversation I’ve had with policymakers and decision-makers, there has been one consistent theme: right now, no idea is off the table. If you have feedback on the type of assistance your business needs, issues you’re facing, or initiatives you’d like to help get started, please reach out to me.

We’re all in this together, thank you for doing business in Bend.

(541) 388-5529 •


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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