“Based on the most current regulations from Governor Kate Brown’s ‘stay home, stay healthy’ measures we must cancel our annual Independence Day celebration,” said Bettina Hannigan, executive director of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. “Thankfully, our contracts with the fireworks technicians, and the Port of Siuslaw for the launch site, are in place for next year.”

Chambers of commerce and other organizations across the state are taking major economic hits from canceling summer and fall events. Some are even canceling events through the end of the year.

“We waited as long as we could to make this decision in hopes of hosting this fun day of family events and fireworks, but given the timeline to put this event together—with the producers of the pie- and watermelon-eating contests and the providers of the bounce houses, music, and fireworks—there is no way to plan for it with any certainty,” Hannigan explained. “Currently we are in the wait-and-see stage with all the planning that goes into our Wine and Chowder Trails held on Columbus Day weekend, but we’re optimistic.”

“During Phase I of Governor Brown’s reopening plan we are all staying local and hopeful we’ll be receiving our out-of-area visitors soon,” she added. “We must put the health of our community and our visitors first. That means being vigilant in adhering to Governor Brown’s recent edicts. As a chamber of commerce, and as a community at large, our top priority should be preventing further spread of COVID-19 and taking care of each other through these uncertain times.”

According to Hannigan, around 1900 people in Florence rely on tourism-based employment, and tourism pumps about $147 million into Florence’s economy each year.

She explained that because so much changes so quickly with respect to the COVID-19 situation the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is working hard for member businesses and the community to continue promoting and advancing the cause of commerce and doing all they can to make Florence the best place to live, work, shop, eat, play, and stay—now, and as the crisis eventually passes.

For a list of businesses in Florence that are open, visit https://bit.ly/YesWeAreOpenFACC.