County Commissioner discusses what a state of emergency means for counties

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Last week the governor declared a state of emergency, but the action left many wondering what that realistically does.

Greg Puckett, the Mercer County Commissioner, says that although the declaration may seem overwhelming, it is merely a call for action and gives more resources to local governments.

“Understanding that, you know we are all under a heightened state of emergency. And the federal emergency came out earlier in the week then the governor declared a state of emergency; this brings it down to the counties to where everybody can access those resources a lot more freely,” Puckett said. 

The state of emergency also acts as a way for counties to act in unison. Collaboration on the local level and reacting quickly and effectively to the pandemic will help things blow over more smoothly.

“It’s really protocol to try to get everybody on the same page together. So that’s why we try to do it, do it up front, so that we will be proactive not reactive.”

Puckett also mentioned that although there is a lot each county can individually be doing right now to be proactive, they still ultimately look to the governor for guidance. 

“Just last week we actually set up separate protocols to make sure that our employees were safe as well as our constituents. But there’s some things that the county cannot do and then when it talks about state of emergency we certainly look to the governor for the guidance in in making sure that whatever he directs we can respond to.”

And while the counties and local governments work together and develop their own responses to the pandemic, a lot of the responsibility still comes down to the individual person. 

“Everybody’s heard the warnings wash your hands, don’t touch your face. We all know that. The best thing to do right now is stay home. You know, give this virus a chance to calm down.”

The state of emergency will stay in effect for likely as long as the pandemic continues.

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