Hastings County called a public emergency Thursday morning.

“Having conferred with my fellow County Councillors and our senior leadership team it is my opinion that it is necessary for me as Warden, to make the declaration at this time,” County Warden Rick Phillips says in a statement. “We had a call with the Mayors in the area and the member municipalities and we’re all in agreement that this had to be done.”

He says there are four main reasons for doing this: it’s a show of support to for the province’s decision to declare of a state of emergency, allows them to support essential service workers and County staff, as well as offer more support to the County’s 14 member municipalities.

Phillips says continuing to practice physical distancing is one of the most important things people can do right now.”It’s difficult to start a practice that you’ve never done before,” he says. “But it’s important to stay at a safe distance.”

Phillips says in the statement that the Mayors of Belleville, Quinte West and Prince Edward County will also be declaring a public emergency alongside Hastings County.

“Let me also make it clear that the County of Hastings has already taken steps to ensure that it has its continuity of operations plans in place and continues to deliver essential/critical services to the public,” Phillips says. “We have taken the necessary step of closing our offices in Belleville, Quinte West, Madoc and Bancroft
to the walk-in public. Our staff continue to provide services through on-line and phone arrangements.”

“We all have to be in this together,” Phillips says. “The county of Hastings cares for each and every resident and we working to help everyone with the issues they may have.”