Amid Benton County reopening, local businesses continue to adjust

Jacqueline Gamlegaard Orange Media Network
Bike n Hike is a local bike shop in downtown Corvallis. 

Makaila Baron, Practicum Contributor

On March 23, Governor Kate Brown issued the executive order “Stay Home, Save Lives.” With Corvallis being a small college town, the pandemic has had a major impact on the community, though local businesses are making adjustments to prevail.

After Benton County decided to reopen numerous businesses on May 15, said businesses are continuing to make adjustments to follow guidelines from Brown and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not all businesses can accommodate their store or service for these rules—instead, they have promoted their online store; or made it by appointment only, where there is little to no contact between the employee and the customer.

In Corvallis, Ore., businesses are aiming to stay open to serve the community. The Corvallis Sew & Vac reported doing porch deliveries even though they don’t have an official delivery system. For those that can’t leave their home, this type of service has brought both joy and hope to their customers, according to Corvallis Sew & Vac Owner Craig Anderson

Ken Nelson, the general manager at Kiefer Nissan said they are “open with extreme caution.” Car dealerships are deemed essential, therefore they don’t have much of a choice regarding their status, however they are able to follow all CDC guidelines and have extensive health measures for their employees. These guidelines help keep both customers and employees safe. Employees are cleaning surfaces—even pens, every hour by the hour. 

“Before a customer enters the car, we wipe down all surfaces that were touched. We sanitize the vehicle before and after services,” said Cory Conklin, service advisor at Subaru of Corvallis.

Businesses like Bike N Hike and Matt’s Cavalcade are letting customers in, but only one or two at a time. Between customers, they lock the door and sanitize everything the previous customer touched. The Cavalcade’s back room is closed and all events have been canceled, however, the Cavalcade is setting up a Discord service for online gaming. These businesses said they would appreciate a call ahead of time to help reduce exposure. 

Other places like the Troubadour Music Center are open by appointment only. There is no contact between employee and customer. Items are delivered and received on the business’ porch in this type of situation. Kent Buys, the owner of the Troubadour said “if we are too careful that’s great,” but he said he still wants his customers to express their passion in music, therefore his business is strictly open for repairs and setups by appointment only.

Some of the businesses that remain closed are promoting their online shopping. Ulta is one of the businesses that was forced to shut down for the time being. However, they have online shopping available, so customers can still fulfill their beauty product needs.

With about 132 businesses open to some degree, child care became a need. The Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis has already opened its doors for essential workforce employees, though, with limited space, not all essential workers get accepted. Within the past week, Southside Youth Outreach got approved to provide childcare for essential workers. Jake Moevao said applications will be available soon. Standards have been raised regarding the health and wellness of its students and staff. Temperature taking, hand washing and provided masks are required upon entrance to these facilities. 

Health and wellness is a high priority in the community right now. Many community members and businesses are taking the appropriate steps to reduce exposure and contamination of COVID-19. With that, Anderson said there is a lot of hope that we—as a community—will get through this.

This is a map of open businesses in Corvallis and surrounding areas, and how they are conducting their business—from curb-side pickup to appointment only, call ahead and online shopping. Data was gathered by contacting various businesses and visiting their websites. The legend can be opened by clicking the arrow icon to the left of the map name. Is something missing or incorrect? Email [email protected]

Was this article helpful?