What’s open, closed
Two good resources for what is open and what is not, from Winthrop and Twisp chambers of commerce: https://winthropwashington.com/2020/03/24/covid-19 and http://twispwa.com/covid.
TranGO, the countywide bus transportation system, has modified its route schedule. Also, TranGO has suspended fare collection until further notice. The TranGO lobby in Okanogan will also be temporarily closed. Saturday service is suspended until further notice. For more information, visit www.okanogantransit.com or call (509) 557‑6177.
TranGO will resume normal service as conditions permit.
Government meeting changes
Gov. Jay Inslee’s recent order restricting movement and gatherings extends to governments. In-person meetings are prohibited, but agencies may continue to meet to conduct business that is necessary and routine or related to COVID-19 response by holding meetings telephonically or by video or internet conference so long as conditions are met for public observation.
Portions of the Public Records Act that are suspended are related to being able to submit records requests in person, to inspect records in person, or to use agency equipment for copying records. Most records requests can be done online or by email these days, and you can receive records by email attachment or file download, so these changes will not impact most requesters. The requirement for an initial response to a request within five business days is also relaxed, however, the general requirement for prompt responses is retained.
County public works changes
The Okanogan County Public Works office is closed to the public during the governor’s “stay home, stay healthy” order. Essential staff are working to ensure that our roads are safe and passable, and that solid waste is collected and processed. Call the sheriff’s non-emergency number, (509) 422‑7232, with serious road issues.
Solid Waste is operating under the following hours and restrictions:
• Central Landfill will be open Tuesday and Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to its contractors and essential businesses with accounts.
• Bridgeport Transfer Station will be open Tuesday and Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. to its contractors and essential businesses with accounts.
• Ellisforde Transfer Station will be open Monday and Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to its contractors and essential businesses with accounts.
• Twisp Transfer Station will be open Monday and Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to its contractors and essential businesses with accounts.
All solid waste facilities will be closed to self-haul customers while the governor’s order is in effect.
Cove food bank is open
The Cove food bank in Twisp will remain open on Thursday to distribute bags of food, following appropriate safety protocols.
“We expect a significant increase of clients due to employment slowdowns,” according to a Cove press release. “Right now, we are working on a plan to distribute food to shut-ins or self-quarantined folks who need it. Also, the Friday Food program will work closely with the school district to distribute over 130 bags of weekend food to those children in need. Creative thoughts and volunteer assistance are appreciated in this time of uncertain circumstances.” For information, call 997‑0227.
• All public meeting facilities are closed.
• All public restrooms are closed.
• All events are postponed until further notice.
• Staff will not be working on campus for at least two weeks, or until April 6. Staff are working remotely and checking email regularly.
The North Central Regional Library system branches have halted all of its operations, including mail orders. Returns at libraries will be closed. All items that are currently checked out will be renewed until May 31. Phone lines will not be staffed. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Access to online resources will be available.
For the first time since Zumiez began holding its annual sales meeting in the Methow Valley in 1990, the event has been canceled, Zumiez Chairman and part-time valley resident Tom Campion said.
Lynnwood-based Zumiez is an international retailer of “active lifestyles” clothing, footwear and accessories for skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing and motocross.
Zumiez has in recent years brought about 700 sales managers and company executives to the valley for intense training sessions, taking up most of the lodging options at the Winthrop end of the valley for several days.
Campion said the company has shuttered 700 stores around the world because of coronavirus concerns, affecting 10,000 employees.
WVC campus plans
Wenatchee Valley College has extended the closure of both campuses to students and the public until March 30. The campuses are closed to both students and members of the public. The college remains open to employees only. Classes will resume on the first day of spring quarter, April 13.
Methow Valley Licensing & Services in Twisp is open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Customers will not be able to go inside the business, but there is a walk-up window for transactions.
Community Center closed
The Methow Valley Community Center gym is closed. Tenants in the building may still hold classes. Contact your instructor for details and special instructions. The Community Center office is open on limited hours. The Rummage Room at the Methow Valley Senior Center is closed. If you need meals from the Senior Center, call the center at 997‑7722 to make arrangements for pick-up.
PUD offices closed
Okanogan County Public Utility District offices are closed to the public as of March 17 until further notice. Customers are asked to use alternate methods of payment:
• Leave a payment in one of the PUD’s drop boxes. Do not leave cash.
• Pay online at www.okanoganpud.org or through the SmartHub app.
• Mail payments to P.O. Box 912, Okanogan, WA, 98840.
• Call (833) 890‑9505 to pay by phone.
For other information, call (509) 422‑3310 or 800 – 922‑7011. Staff will be available to conduct business over the phone or via email. Crews will continue to provide outage response.
Methow Recycles closed
Methow Recycles has closed its Twisp facility and programs until at least April 6.
The organization offered tips for how to get along while Methow Recycles is closed:
• Household self-haul recyclers – If you can, hang on to your recycling until the recycling center reopens. WasteWise is still operating its collection service; call 997‑8862 for information.
• Business self-haul recyclers — Call 997‑0520 or email email@example.com to schedule an appointment for delivery.
• Blue Bags may still be available for purchase and drop-off at Blue Star Coffee Roasters, Methow Cycle & Sport and the Mazama Country Inn.
• Tool library and Take It or Leave It — Both programs will be closed.
• WasteWise collections are not changing at this time.
WIC is open
The Women’s, Infant and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) is open and conducting appointments via phone. If you are scheduled for an appointment or need an appointment, call (509) 509 – 422‑7626. No walk-ins at this time.