Osceola County prepares to open to public
Lifting of state of emergency will determine timing
REED CITY -- The Osceola County Board of Commissions approved a motion to allow the public back into county buildings at its meeting June 16.
County Coordinator Susan Vander Pol told the BOC that right now the buildings remain closed to the public except by appointment, and some of the offices are starting to get very busy.
"We are still in stage four of the phased opening, according to the governors executive orders," Vander Pol said. "However, a number of counties have already opened, or are opening up this week."
BOC chairman Jack Nehmer said Emergency Services Manager Mark Watkins believed that the state of emergency would be lifted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday, June 19, and it was his thought that the county should hold off opening up to the public until then.
"The thought was, if we hold off until Friday and she (Whitmer) lifts the state of emergency, we could implement opening up on Monday," Nehmer said. "We can bring security in and begin getting everyone acclimated to the security process."
The BOC voted to allow county offices to address the public by appointment only through the end of the governor's state of emergency, and when the state of emergency is lifted, fully open to the public.
"DK Security will start on Wednesday," Vander Pol said. "For people that have an appointment, security can screen them, make sure they are wearing a mask, and have them wait for the office they need practicing social distancing. There will be markings on the floor for that.
"I think the transitioning would be good for the security personnel and the employees," she continue. "Then, if the governor lifts the state of emergency on Friday, we will be ready to open to the public on Monday."
It is recommended once the buildings fully open to the public, anyone needing services call for an appointment to assist in their wait times.
According to the motion, courts will follow the State Court Administrator's office recommendations and State Supreme Court orders. Other offices connected with a state agency or working in state agencies' buildings will follow the state's recommendations for opening to the public.
For more information on the opening of the buildings, and procedures for receiving services, visit osceola-county.org.