County extends local state of emergency

Date for 'reopening' pushed back

REED CITY -- The Osceola County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the local state of emergency through June 2 at its meeting May 19.

Osceola County Emergency management director Mark Watkins told the BOC that it is not in the best interest of the county to let the state of emergency drop at this time.

"This state of emergency opens up resources to the county, the cities and the townships, should they need our services. It impacts everybody in the county," Watkins said.

"If we drop the state of emergency, it closes up our emergency plan," he continued. "Then we have to handle the crisis through our normal procedures and on our own tab. At this point we still need our full ability to assist through the emergency plan."

In addition, the BOC approved extending the employee compensation policy for workers displaced by the pandemic through June 2, which allows for those employees to continue to receive compensation for normal working hours, even if they are not working.

In other business, the BOC approved procurement of temporary building cleaning services to address the COVID-19 requirements for reopening county facilities and bringing employees back into the buildings.

County Coordinator Susan VanderPol told the BOC that the most recent executive orders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer established that the state will monitor that businesses are enforcing the requirements for COVID-19 safety procedures.

"Part of that includes additional cleaning of common areas like the lobby areas, hallways and restrooms -- those areas that normally daily janitorial services would address," Vander Pol said. "Our current janitorial service only has a staff of two, and I don't think they could realistically serve the needs we will have with multiple buildings."

The board approved a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, and the phased reopening of county buildings beginning May 19, at its meeting May 5. That timeline was extended to June 2.

The next meeting for the BOC is at 9:30 a.m., June 2. The meetings are open to the public. For more information, visit