Reading these tips it may seem like you’re being asked to prepare for an apocalypse, not an eclipse. But I can assure you, it’s important to plan ahead as it’s going to be quite the event. After all, the next one coming through the United States won’t be until 2024.
It should be obvious by now that there’s going to be an influx of people visiting Central Oregon for the eclipse. Businesses such as hotels, grocery stores, clinics, restaurants, shops, and campgrounds are going to be BUSY.
First, the good news: We don’t expect this crowding to impact our phone or television services at all. Wired internet services for customers served by fiber—either Metro Ethernet or Passive Optical Network like what we offer businesses in Madras, La Pine, and Prineville—also can’t be impacted by congestion. Wired internet services for customers served by coax—most of our business customers fall in this category—may experience some congestion akin to the busiest shopping day of the holiday season.
Now, the not-so-good news: Complimentary community Internet provided via public WiFi hotspots may not work if crowds are as large as some estimates suggest. They are designed for our year-round, day-to-day population, not large events like festivals and eclipses.
Here’s what we’ll be doing to prepare for the event.
- We’ll be fully staffed. As always, we’ll have backup help from trained staff outside of the area to ensure that repair calls are still answered quickly.
- We will stage repair vehicles and technicians throughout the area so we can quickly reach any problem areas even if traffic is bad.
- There will be fewer scheduled installations on the day of the eclipse. This way, technicians will be available to respond to any emergencies.
Lastly, all employers in the area should take these following steps to keep employees prepared and safe:
- If possible, allow employees to work from home (skip to number two if that’s not possible). Traffic is going to be C-R-A-Z-Y as visitors flood into the city nearly a week in advance.
- Tell your employees to pack extra supplies in their vehicles. An article on Travel Oregon recommends packing as if there was going to be a snow storm (gas, food, water, a map, etc.)
- If you offer public Wi-Fi, consider changing your password. (If you don’t require a password, consider adding one!)This could help from overloading your connection, keeping your internet up for the right amount of people to enjoy.
- Prepare for cell service to slow down. The high volume of visitors to the area could make it difficult to reach employees or customers via cell phone. If you’ve got a VoIP phone, this won’t be a problem.
- Be ready to accommodate more cash transactions if you process credit cards using a cellular data connection. According to an article on the BendBulletin, credit card systems could slow down due to the increased in volumes.
For the most comprehensive guide to the Solar Eclipse in Oregon, go here.