The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
the Times 

Columbia County businesses and services impacted by coronavirus policies


March 26, 2020

DAYTON—Government, businesses, and services are being impacted by COVID-19.

Here’s a run- down of impacts:

On March 18 the Dayton City Council closed the Dayton City Public Works Facility and the City Hall to the general public.

Permit applications, and other City business can be conducted via telephone at: (509) 382-2361. Utility bills can be placed in the payment drop box located along the alleyway adjacent to the City Hall. The City will waive any late fees for utility accounts as a result of late or nonpayment. Updates regarding City functions and actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be posted on the City’s website at:

This proclamation of emergency will allow city officials to acquire resources and supplemental assistance in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Board of County Commissioners convened on March 18, and March 23 to discuss county office closures and the need to comply with the governor’s order this week to close all non-essential businesses, until April 6. All County services will remain available but with limited face-to-face availability. Services will be available by telephone, remote access, drop-box, and other methods during normal business hours.

The offices of the court clerks and the courtroom, while in session, will remain open.

The public is asked to contact these county offices by phone:

Assessor at: (509) 382-2131

Auditor at: (509) 382-4541

District Court at: (509) 382-4812

Sheriff’s Office at: (509) 382-2518

Superior Court at: (509) 382-4321

Treasurer at: (509) 382-2641

The county fairgrounds are also closed.

David Ocampo, General Manager of Columbia County Public Transportation said there is a noticeable drop in ridership since area schools have closed. He said staff are disinfecting vehicles every day, and after every trip to, and from Walla Walla.

Ocampo said CCPT is taking every precaution available and are following protocols issued by the state, in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Our disinfectants are of commercial grade, and the continued use of them is vital,” he said. “We will continue to operate until we are forced to close, but the community is still in need of our services.”

CCPT is willing to offer rides to restaurants, for people to receive carry out meals. Restaurants can deliver meals to homes, and businesses through CCPT, as long as there is a restaurant employee on board. Call CCPT for details at: (509) 382-1647.

The Dayton Chamber and the Port have mailed flyers to households in Columbia County with information about restaurants offering take-out delivery.

There is a local business owner who is trying to get signed up as a DoorDash driver, which would be helpful for other businesses that would like to offer delivery, according to Jennie Dickinson, the Port’s Executive Director.

The Dayton Mercantile is offering morning hours for the elderly and most vulnerable citizens to shop. The time is from 7-8 a.m. when the store is at its cleanest.

There are impacts to tourism with restaurants closing, and with museums closing until April 30.

Melody Shahan, Marketing and Sales Manager at the Dayton Best Western Hotel and Conference Room said there hasn’t been much drop-off in hotel bookings, by workers staying at the hotel. There is an occasional tourist staying at the hotel.

Shahan said housekeeping staff are using enhanced techniques to clean guest rooms, with particular attention to high touch areas which includes; key cards, public area computers, door handles, locks and latches, desk surfaces, telephones, television remote controls and bathroom fixture handles as well as elevator doors and buttons.

“All staff are strongly encouraged to wash or sanitize their hands several times a day. We also have disinfecting soap and hand sanitizer available to all staff,” Shahan said.

She said the usual sit-down breakfast buffet has been suspended in favor of bagged, to-go style meals.


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