Siuslaw River Boardwalk

More Tests Made Available; Fire Marshall Allows Self-service Fuel; Money For Businesses to Keep Employees; Port to Consider State of Emergency Declaration; WLEOG Thankful for Support

More Tests Made Available

As the death toll from the Coronavirus climbs to 13 in Oregon, the amount of tests being made available is climbing too.  As of yesterday 11,426 tests have been administered across the state and there are 548 new cases reported by the Oregon Health Authority.  There are three more new cases for Lane County brining the total to 12 this morning.  The three latest cases are all Eugene/Springfield residents.  Two of the cases are members of the same household and are in their 40’s.  they are resting comfortably at home.  The third is a woman in her 30’s.  she is also at home.  There have been 10,878 negative cases of the virus in Oregon with Multnomah,  Jackson, Clackamas, Marion and Washington county receiving the bulk of the tests to date.

Fire Marshall Allows Self-service Fuel

Oregon’s office of State Fire Marshall has temporarily suspended the regulations over fuel service.  Touting the safety and health of gas retailers it is now permissible to pump your own gas in the state.  The change took place on Saturday and will continue until at least April 11th according to the release from the state.  The new regulations come with provisions to have at least two employees oversee operations including one to supervise self-service fueling and one to insure that social distancing policies are enforced.  The Office of the State Fire Marshall has also opened a hotline for businesses that may need employees to cover the new guidelines.

Money For Businesses to Keep Employees

A provision of the 2 Trillion dollar Care Act that was signed into law on Friday, could help local businesses.  The government has given the banks guarantees that they will back loans that are given to local businesses as long as the guidelines are met and one of the benefits is that businesses that use portions of the loan to keep  employees on the payroll or provide benefits for their employees, that portion of the loan is forgivable.  OPB president and CEO Ron Green provided an example of how the program would work.

“Meaning if you borrow a $100,000 as a small business and you can prove that I use $60,000, I’m just talking hypotheticals, to keep my employees going, the federal government will say that’s been waived, you only owe $40,000.’”

Green says a lot of details have yet to be determined by the Small Business Association, and it may be several days or more before the money can start making its way to businesses.  Green says he is very excited about the opportunities offered in this legislation.

“This will be, in my opinion, the catalyst that will keep small businesses going.”

Banks will have to have the liquidity to provide the loans, Green says specifically OPB has positioned itself after the last financial crisis to be ready for this and that the crisis could last until the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year.

Port to Consider State of Emergency Declaration

The Port of Siuslaw will meet this evening to consider declaring a state of emergency.  Commissioners will meet at 5pm at the port conference room to review a resolution.  The meeting is open to the public, but due to the size of the port conference room seating will be limited to provide safe distancing in accordance with state COVID-19 regulations.  The public can attend via telephone by calling a special number and then entering the correct ID number.  (1-317-762-7200 – ID #2236457409)

WLEOG Thankful for Support

The West Lane Emergency Operations Group has been flooded with an outpouring of support from the public wishing to help provide Personal Protection Equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic and have set up a donation drop off at the City of Florence Public Works Facility at 2675 Kingwood Street, beginning today from 10 am until 2 pm.  They ask that you place the items in the trunk or rear portion of you SUV and not to exit your vehicle when dropping off items.  A designee will meet the vehicle and remove the items for you.  Visit Coast Radio’s website for the complete press release detailing monetary donations and products that may be manufactured in your home.