A handful of Skagit County farms are offering U-pick berries this season with COVID-19 modifications in place, while others are not opening their fields to the public but are providing other ways to buy berries.

The deadline is approaching for small businesses in Skagit County to apply for a COVID-19 relief program aimed at protecting jobs and supporting struggling companies.

LA CONNER — Nine businesses in La Conner — including two restaurants, an art gallery, and multiple retail shops — have permanently closed or are closing, all but one citing COVID-19 as the reason for their closures.

In response to rising cases of COVID-19 in Skagit County, Burlington will once again close several of its parks facilities, Mayor Steve Sexton announced in a July 16 letter.

About 1,800 Skagit County businesses and nonprofits received federal loans to help them cover expenses and pay employees during the pandemic, with a majority of funds reaching smaller to medium-size businesses, according to data released by the Small Business Administration this month.

Snohomish County isn’t moving onto Phase 3 anytime soon, local and state officials announced recently. And if new COVID-19 cases continue to increase, local health officials said it’s possible the county could drop back into Phase 1.

Skagit County has not controlled the spread of COVID-19 sufficiently enough to be eligible to advance to Phase 3 of the governor’s Safe Start plan.

OLYMPIA — Washington state will require people to wear facial coverings in public settings, under a statewide public health order announced by Gov. Jay Inslee in response to ongoing COVID-related health concerns.

Sea Mar Community Health Centers is offering free COVID-19 testing two days a week at its Mount Vernon medical clinic on LaVenture Road.

Libraries throughout Skagit County recently began offering curbside service after months of being unable to check out books, movies and other materials to patrons because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Class of 2020 has had to endure some of the most unprecedented obstacles imaginable, and yet, perseverance and persistence are finally being rewarded.

n The Anacortes City Council will meet by telephone at 6 p.m. Monday, June 22. Call 1-312-757-3121, access code 373-576-877.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all school districts are holding their school board meetings electronically. Therefore, all districts ask that public comment be delivered electronically or dropped off at district offices. For information, visit district websites.

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As of now, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is still planning for school sports to start back up in the fall, but things will look a little different than normal.