Library pickup service delayed by hazardous air

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WENATCHEE — Curbside pickup at all 30 public libraries in North Central Washington, which was scheduled to resume today in Chelan and Douglas counties after a six-month closure, has been shuttered today due to hazardous or unhealthy air quality throughout the region.

NCW Libraries shuttered its branches and drop-off services last spring on public health orders from Gov. Jay Inslee. Material pick-ups and drop-off resumed in August Okanogan and Grant counties after those counties were advanced to Phase 2 of the governor’s four-phase COVID-19 recovery plan.

But the services remained unavailable in Chelan and Douglas, which are in a “modified” Phase 1 due to high coronavirus transmission rates, until a modified executive order allowed curbside pickup.

Due to wildfire smoke throughout the Pacific Northwest, air quality in the Wenatchee Valley has remained in the “hazardous” range since Saturday afternoon, meaning people should limit their exposure to outdoor air as much as possible.

Clients of the libraries can still place holds for materials on the system’s website, ncwlibraries.org, but won’t be able to pick them up until air quality improves. Mail order for books and library materials will still resume today.