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What a relief! Bay County state of emergency status ending for first time in over 2 years
News Herald - 6/3/2021
Jun. 3—PANAMA CITY — The next Bay County Commission meeting will miss a specific agenda item for the first time in two-and-a-half years — a local state of emergency declaration.
During its regular Tuesday meeting, the commission officially approved its last local state of emergency extension for COVID-19 — a government procedure that gives the county access to funding mechanisms to deal with the pandemic. The county ended a similar extension for Hurricane Michael in November that it had since 2018, meaning that in two weeks once the latest COVID-19 extension expires, it will be the first time the area hasn't been under a state of emergency in more than two years.
Commission Vice Chairman Tommy Hamm said it was time to end the emergency order.
"We've basically applied for all the reimbursements we're going to get," Hamm said. "There was no need to keep carrying it."
Hamm said that it's good to not be in a local state of emergency. He added that it feels like the county is getting close to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Personally, I hope so. I think it would be a good thing," Hamm said. "The demand fell way off for testing and vaccinations, so now all these private providers are doing all that."
Hamm said the fight's not over because even though officials have applied for all of the money they can get for COVID-19 reimbursement, the county has learned it takes patience when dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He said it will take time because Bay County officials still are dealing with reimbursements for Hurricane Michael.
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