This week in business news

Here are some business-related news items and other stories relevant to your community that were of interest this week

Gov. Jay Inslee tightens Stay Home, Stay Healthy order amid increasing COVID-19 cases

In four months, cases of COVID-19 in Washington have risen from 2,000 to almost 50,000, and deaths have increased from 110 to nearly 1,500. To combat the rising numbers, Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman are changing guidance and regulations for a number of events, locations and industries.

Under the new guidance, wedding and funeral ceremonies will remain permitted, but receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies must adhere to current guidance; for all phases, maximum indoor occupancy is 20%, or up to 30 people, whichever is less, as long as social distancing can be observed.

The changes will take effect in two weeks, on Aug. 6, providing a grace period for weddings and funerals previously scheduled to take place or readjust their plans.

Restaurant guidance will now require parties to be members of the same household in order to dine indoors. Outdoor dining and take-away remains available for small parties from different households. Table size for dine-in in Phase 3 will be reduced to five individuals and occupancy reduced from 75% to 50%. Restaurants must also close gaming and social areas, such as pool tables, dart boards and video games.

Bars will be closed for indoor service, but can continue outdoor service. Alcohol service inside of restaurants must end by 10 p.m. These regulations take effect in one week, on July 30.

The number of individuals allowed to use fitness centers and other physical health venues at a given time will also be reduced. In Phase 2, only five individuals — not including staff — will be allowed for indoor fitness services at a time. This includes gyms, fitness studios, indoor pools, ice rinks, volleyball courts and tennis facilities. These are limited to small group instruction or private training.

Fitness center occupancy in Phase 3 will be reduced to 25%. All group fitness classes are limited to no more than 10, not including the instructors. The changes are effective July 30.

Indoor family entertainment and recreation centers — like mini golf, bowling alleys, and arcades — are prohibited from opening, as well as indoor card rooms. Indoor movie theater occupancy will be reduced from 50% to 25% in Phase 3.

In addition to those changes, a new face coverings order will go into effect Saturday, July 25. The expansion will require face coverings in all common spaces, such as elevators, hallways and shared spaces in apartment buildings, university housing and hotels, as well as congregate settings such as nursing homes.

Inslee extended the state’s eviction moratorium to Oct. 15. Details on the extension will be released in the coming days. In addition to the moratorium, the extension also directs Governor’s Office staff to convene an informal work group of landlords and tenants to discuss potential changes to the order in the short-term and long-term as the pandemic progresses, including the prospect of rent increases.

Port of Vancouver USA receives longest wind turbine blades to enter the US West Coast

The Port of Vancouver USA received a wind turbines shipment on July 22, which includes the longest wind turbine blades moved on the West Coast of North America. The delivery is a joint effort between the turbine manufacturer Goldwind Americas and the wind project owner Potentia Renewables.  

The port will receive a total of nine full wind turbines including blades, nacelles, generators, hubs, tower sections and other sub-components. The wind turbine blades and components will travel to Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Canada to Potentia’s Golden South Wind Energy Project. Crews will unload the blades on Monday, July 27, using the port’s two Liebherr mobile harbor cranes. Once unloaded, waiting trucks will move the blades to a laydown area at the port’s Terminal 5. The turbine components will be trucked over the next several months to Saskatchewan.

City of Battle Ground to gather feedback on land use master plan alternatives

The City of Battle Ground is inviting community members to participate in developing a plan for what the city will look like for future generations through an online Storymap Open House that presents three Land Use Master Plan alternatives and asks for community feedback.  

The Mapping our Future project is the second phase of the city’s larger, long-range planning process.  The first phase, Battle Ground Roadmap, was completed in 2018.  More than 2,000 community members participated in the project that resulted in a Community Vision and Strategic Action Plan.

The current, second phase of the long-range planning process is the development of land use and transportation system plans. An updated Land Use Master Plan will lay the groundwork for future development by identifying areas of growth, preservation and economic development.  The plan will serve as a component of the city’s 20-year Comprehensive Plan.

The city recognizes that an effective community participation process is vital to long-range planning. The online Storymap Open House features three proposed alternatives for Battle Ground’s Land Use Master Plan. Community members are encouraged to log on and participate by providing feedback and comment on the proposed alternatives. The open house and comment period is open through August 17.  Those who prefer to participate in a hard-copy format may contact the city at 360-342-5047 or by email at MapOurFuture@cityofbg.org.

In addition, a live virtual meeting will be held on Monday, August 10 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The city invites community members to participate by registering here.  The project team will be available live, online to answer questions about the project, facilitate dialogue, and gather feedback.  

The city’s current 20-Year Comprehensive Plan and additional information about long-range planning is available on the city’s website.

Port of Vancouver USA approves purchase of credits to benefit environmental conservation efforts

On Tuesday, July 14, the Port of Vancouver USA approved the purchase of environmental mitigation credits from the Wapato Valley Mitigation and Conservation Bank (Wapato Bank) in anticipation of several upcoming projects. The Port of Vancouver USA is the first port within the Wapato Bank service area to create an agreement like this to secure credits that will be released upon Bank certification for future port development.

The Wapato Valley Mitigation and Conservation Bank is a nearly 900-acre property in Ridgefield at the confluence of the Lewis and Columbia Rivers. The property is a former farm owned by the Morgan family and includes a unique tidal freshwater floodplain ecosystem.

Restoration efforts of Wapato Bank include “unbuilding” which involves removing man-made infrastructure and restoring the property’s natural ecosystem, which will increase the growth of natural habitat, improve the quality of the environment and encourage the growth of diverse and complex species.

The Wapato Bank offers several types of credits through the Washington mitigation banking system, including wetland, in-water or fish habitat and oak habitat credits. Mitigation banking is a system of exchange with credits and debits that help ensure that business development impacts by public and private entities are offset by efforts of restoration, enhancement or preservation of a project with similar ecological features.

The Wapato Bank will offer credits as mitigation from off-site development impacts. In addition to avoiding and minimizing impacts during project design, the Port of Vancouver USA will purchase credits and use debits to help balance the environmental impacts of their projects through this system of mitigation banking.

Vanwares awards Vancouver’s Downtown Association a Pandemmy

Vanwares, a shop of locally made items located in downtown’s Divine Consign awarded Vancouver’s Downtown Association the “Keeping Things Moving” Pandemmy. 

From Vanwares’ announcement of the award: “Take First Friday Art Walk virtual? Check. Consistently highlight downtown businesses to let people know who was open and what was happening? Check. Let people know where they can purchase locally sourced masks? Check. Facilitate the innovative Parklet program that converts street parking to outdoor dining opens? Check. And, we want to add that those Parklets look good. Pushing out information on available resources to mitigate some of the impact of COVID-19? Also, check. And so many more efforts. In the middle of all that, throw in a brand refresh and shepherding the Launchpad contest finalists through the conclusion of the competition, and you’re looking at a high level of adaptability and resilience shown by this team.

“VDA knows that commerce is still happening even in a pandemic and businesses need support and VDA is responding to the current challenge. They continue to tell the story of what’s great about downtown Vancouver, even if it looks a bit different from a few months ago, and we love them for it.

“And, oh my gosh, we don’t want to forget the stunning origami window display to beautify the old Spanky’s at 9th & Main. It’s an absolute delight and just the thing to lift your spirits.”

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