FLORENCE, Ore. --- Long-time Florence residents are speaking out regarding the growing number of tourists they have witnessed over the past few weeks.
Brenda Clingan has lived in Florence for 22 years. She said her small town is a tight-knit community and they are all doing what they can to protect themselves from the virus.
“We’re trying our best to just stay by ourselves and have a little bit of a distance between each other,” Clingan said.
Clingan said she does not understand why so many people are making their way to the coast during this time.
“That’s just outrageous,” Clingan said. “Why would you want to go and congregate around a bunch of people if you believe any of this stuff you’ve been hearing?”
Others are concerned about how this will affect the elderly population in Florence.
“They’re being exposed because of people coming over here and thinking they’re invincible,” resident Mela Castro said.
Castro said she took a drive with her husband two days ago and stopped at multiple places that normally have barely anyone inside.
“They were packed," Castro said. "During the week time, no one is ever there. We can go there for an hour and not see another person but we couldn’t get out of the car. There were so many people.”
There are some residents who view the tourist influx as something positive.
“I know some business operators here who would appreciate staying open,” resident Michael Andeel said. “They’re staying open for takeout food. They could use the business because everything is shut down.”
Driftwood Shores Resort announced Friday that they will be closing their doors beginning on Monday.
Reedsport and Winchester Bay are also experiencing large amounts of coastal traffic due to the coronavirus outbreak.