Monday was the last day for in-person pick-up at the Sequim Food Bank. Starting Friday, visitors can drive by to pick up food from the facility at 144 W. Alder St. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Monday was the last day for in-person pick-up at the Sequim Food Bank. Starting Friday, visitors can drive by to pick up food from the facility at 144 W. Alder St. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Food Bank moves to drive-thru model

Community groups close, regroup due to coronavirus

Like many businesses and agencies in the area, the Sequim Food Bank, 144 W. Alder St., has become a drive-thru experience.

Executive Director Andra Smith said starting with Friday’s hours 9 a.m.-noon, attendees will pull up for an “emergency food pickup system.”

“We’ve been buying up food in anticipation for something like this,” she said.

On Monday, March 16 —prior to new regulations limiting the number of people in gathering spaces — volunteers, staff and visitors of the food bank were encouraged to keep 6 feet apart and the number of people in buildings were limited.

Smith said the number of people coming hasn’t been too high, but she anticipates it’s because many people are stocked up for now.

“Right now we haven’t seen a crazy rush, but that could change soon,” she said.

If you’re unable to pickup food, the agency offers deliveries in the Sequim area on Mondays. You must call by 9 a.m. each Monday to get in an order for the week, Smith said.

Call 360-683-1205 for more information.

The food bank’s Weekend Meal Program will continue as an offering on Friday through food distribution sites at the Boys & Girls Clubs in Sequim, Carrie Blake Community Park, Elk Creek Apartments and Seabreeze Apartments this week from noon-1 p.m.; Greywolf Elementary School and Sequim Middle School 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and at the food bank from 9 a.m.-noon Friday and Saturday.

The food bank opens 9 a.m.-noon Fridays and Saturdays, and 1-4 p.m. Mondays.

“It’s open to everyone,” Smith said.

“We realize people who haven’t used our services may need it. It may be difficult to do but there is no judgment from anyone here. We’re here to help.”

Those looking to support the food bank can make monetary donations online at www.sequimfoodbank.com or over the phone at 360-683-1205.

First responders

First responders in Sequim say people have been good about staying home if sick and/or calling only for emergencies.

“It’s not as bad as we thought it could be,” said Assistant Fire Chief Dan Orr with Clallam County Fire District 3.

He said facilities and homes with frequent calls haven’t been calling as much and they’ve been doing a good job of self-isolation.

Orr said if a patient presents a 100.4 temperature and has upper-respiratory issues of coughing and/or sneezing, then medical/fire crews will put on masks and protective equipment on calls.

He said crews have gone on some errant calls and they encourage people to be sensitive to their area’s hospitals.

“If you don’t have any of those symptoms, we tell everyone to stay home because we don’t want to overwhelm the emergency room,” Orr said. “It’s already overwhelmed.”

Sequim Police Chief Sheri Crain said dispatchers are doing some screening on some emergency responses to keep environments safe for first responders.

She said police are doing similar measures to fire crews by putting on masks and gloves before going into certain environments. If they receive a non-emergency call, they may send one officer to assist the fire department instead of two, she said.

“My hope is that people are intentionally going to public health websites and the county public health sites and not just Facebook and social media for health advice,” she said.

For the Clallam County hotline, call 360-417-2430 or visit www.clallam.net/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Postal service

Operations through the United States Postal Service office remains business as usual, said Ernie Swanson, communication specialist for the U.S. Post Office in Washington and Northern Idaho.

That means the U.S. Postal Service offices in the Sequim area remain open for services.

He said nationally they haven’t seen a spike in mailings due to closures and cancellations elsewhere.

If a mail center was closed due to the coronavirus, he said they have emergency plans they could implement.

If a Sequim office or any office were to close, he said, staff would direct customers to the next closest post office and bring in temporary accommodations for post office box customers.

“We realize how important mail is to people,” Swanson said.

Libraries

Leaders with the North Olympic Library System closed their four branches, including Sequim, to the public on Tuesday, March 17, because of coronavirus concerns.

Programs and meeting room reservations are cancelled through at least April 30, unless conditions change, NOLS staff said.

The library service maintains its website at www.nols.org with multiple resources such as eBooks. Wi-Fi remains available outside each library as buildings remain closed.

“NOLS has made these difficult closure decisions out of concern for the health of library staff, volunteers, and the community,” library officials wrote in a press release.

For more information and updates, visit the website or email director@nols.org.

Tribe’s endeavors

Tribal leaders announced this week, their plans to temporarily close or alter some of its operations.

Seven Cedars Casino closed this week, but the Longhouse Market will remain open with frequent cleanings of gas pumps and other high-touch surfaces. Takeout orders will be served to-go.

The Cedars at Dungeness will remain open for golf, but sit-down dining will be closed.

Jamestown Family Health Clinic and the tribe’s dental clinic will remain open.

“Our Tribe agrees with the collective view that a coordinated effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 is in our region’s best interest,” tribal leaders wrote.

“Our Tribe recognizes there is an important balance between public safety and continuing to help our business survive and protect jobs. We will continue to evaluate the situation and consider additional recommended measures throughout this rapidly changing crisis.”

Shipley Center

Shipley Center, Sequim’s senior center at 921 E. Washington St., followed the Sequim School District’s closure timeline this week to remain closed tentatively until Monday, April 27.

Executive Director Michael Smith said they are creating resources and various ways to stay in touch with their members including www.facebook.com/ShipleyCenter and www.shipleycenter.org.

The center’s café may offer takeout meals starting Monday, March 23 with more information to come.

For more information, call 360-683-6806.

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