Commissioners declare state of emergency

By Kayla Hawthorne -

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commissioners declared a state of emergency in Mason County during a meeting for elected officials on Tuesday afternoon.

The emergency proclamation, which is named for COVID-19/Health Emergency, reads “Whereas, Mason County, West Virginia has been or is immediately threatened by a natural/technological/man-made hazard, and

“Whereas, a state of emergency has been declared by the County Commission of Mason County.

“Now, therefore be it resolved, we, the Mason County Commission, declares that a state of emergency exists in the county and that we hereby invoke and declare those portions of the West Virginia Code which are applicable to the conditions and have caused the issuance of this proclamation be in full force and effect in the county for the exercise of a necessary emergency authority for protection of the lives and property of the people of Mason County and the restoration of local government with a minimum of interruption.”

The proclamation goes on to state, “All citizens are called upon and directed to comply with necessary emergency measures, to cooperate with public officials and emergency management forces in executing emergency operations plans to obey and comply with the lawful direction of properly-identified officers.”

During the meeting, Commission President Rick Handley presented the suggestions for dealing with county offices.

The notice is given due to rising concerns over the coronavirus. The commissioners strongly urge all citizens who need to attend to business in the Mason County Courthouse, or any other county owned facility, to consider the following:

-Call the office which you have business to attend and request an alternative option — such as via email, mail or any other non-contact ways.

-Concerning taxes of other fines or fees that need to be paid in a timely manner, please consider online submission or mailing the documents or payments. For tax payments: go to

-To register to vote, go to

-For all other non-time sensitive matters, contact the respective office during this time.

Many leaders in the community were in attendance at the meeting, including Superintendent of Schools Jack Cullen, County Clerk Diana Cromley, 911 and EMS Director Dennis Zimmerman, Health Department Director Jennifer Thomas, RN, City of Point Pleasant Mayor Brian Billings, as well as other representatives from local senior centers, churches and law enforcement.

Zimmerman said his offices are preparing for the worst and they have “all hands on deck.” They are following all the guidelines from the president, governor and health department.

“Folks, this is like nothing we have ever seen,” Zimmerman said.

Cullen said that schools will be closed until further notice and information is always changing. On Tuesday, bus drivers started running routes to deliver food to students. Some staff are reporting to work at varying times to reduce exposure.

Senior centers in Mason County were still open as of Tuesday. They were taking measures to screen participants and are serving and delivering food.

Many churches in the county are posting their services in online videos rather than in person.

In Handley’s notice, he reminded everyone to visit to stay informed with the latest coronavirus updates.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Kayla Hawthorne

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.

Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.