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Ottawa County Board of Commissioners asks Gov. Whitmer to hold off on any more extensions of stay at home order

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Posted at 12:02 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 17:54:05-04

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requesting that no more extensions be made to the current stay at home order that expires June 12.

“The Board trusts that its residents will take the safety measures that have been put forth by health experts such as physical distancing, hand washing, wearing a face mask, and staying home if high risk,” said a statement about the letter posted on the county’s Facebook page.

Chair of the Board, Roger Bergman spoke with Fox 17 about the letter on Thursday, saying it stated the Governor is in jeopardy of “Losing credibility and belief” with another extension. He told us, “Enough of the unemployment compensation, we need to have people get back to work.”

Commissioner Bergman said he hopes the governor doesn’t see the letter as him asking, but instead the citizens of Ottawa County, which currently has the second highest number of Covid-19 cases in West Michigan at just over 700, well behind Kent County’s more than 3,400 cases.

Bergman explained to Fox 17 just how hard it has been for businesses and restaurants to begin re-opening plans, only to see the governor extend the “Stay Home” order about a week before it expires. “If you say June 12th, let’s make sure. Especially in Ottawa County, give us some trust that we’re going to do the right thing. Restaurants need a week (notice) to be able to prepare and order their food and whatever they need. In Grand Haven and other downtowns where there are restaurants, municipalities are looking at ways to be able to allow them use roads or parking lots to expand their capacity so they can put tables out and put them six feet apart,” Bergman told Fox 17.

Commissioner Bergman added that he is in favor of the governor extending the State of Emergency, which is separate from the “Stay Home” order because it allows Ottawa County’s Supervisor to do some things quicker, instead of putting decisions up for vote which can take much longer. Bergman adds that the State of Emergency has allowed them to get more federal and state funding.