Bay County officials declare state of emergency; urge residents not to panic

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — With growing coronavirus concerns, Bay County commissioners are making sure they are prepared for what may lie ahead. 

 They have declared a local state of emergency for Bay County. 

“This allows us to seek FEMA reimbursements for some of the expenses we might incur regarding the coronavirus,” Bay County Chairman Philip ‘Griff’ Griffitts said.  

This is the same type of state of emergency the county is still in since the hit of Hurricane Michael. 

“There is a 75% cost share the federal government will provide just like the cost-share they provide for hurricane disasters and so that is the main reason for implementing a local state of emergency,” said Emergency Services Chief Mark Bowen. 

They are urging residents to not act in fear, as this is part of protocol. 

“Please don’t panic,” Griffitts said. “Please just practice all of the requests that the government is putting out regarding social distancing, washing your hand and clean hygiene. “Those are very important so we are asking people to just pay attention to the CDC and the Department of Health.” 

Bowen says the Bay County Emergency Operations Center has expended limited funds so far preparing for the virus, stocking up on supplies and making sure the equipment that they have is functional.

He says everyone should be listening to the health department’s guidelines in staying safe during this outbreak.

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