TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County Commission Chair Rob Hentschel signed a Declaration of Emergency Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.

“For citizens of Grand Traverse County, this means that your government is preparing for things that might effect them directly,” Hentschel said in a phone interview.

“It’s been part of the discussions since day one. I wanted to hold off until it was recommended by our emergency manager but that time is here.”

The declaration will allow officials to tap into state disaster funds to reimburse the county for expenditures made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hentschel said.

It will also secure the county’s place in line for hospital equipment and personal protection supplies from federal and state sources, Hentschel said.

Hentschel said residents hoarding toilet paper and reports of area residents not taking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s self-distancing guidance seriously also factored into his decision to sign the decl- aration.

At the next county board meeting, scheduled for April 1, an extension of the declaration will be considered, according to a press release issued by the Grand Traverse County’s Office of Emergency Management Wednesday evening.

“Grand Traverse County reaffirms President Donald J. Trump and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Declaration of Emergency and Executive Orders mandating that we “Stay Home, Stay Safe” and we encourage everyone to follow them,” Hentschel said.

Recommended for you