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Southampton board terminate local emergency status

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously July 27 to terminate the local emergency status that was ratified by the board in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Administrator Michael Johnson offered context on the issue in a report contained within the board’s July 27 meeting packet.

“As you may recall, in my capacity as director of emergency services, on March 20,

2020, I issued an ‘Amended Declaration of Local Emergency’ related to the COVID-19

pandemic,” he stated. “This declaration was subsequently ratified by the full Board

of Supervisors on March 26, 2020.

“In accordance with state law, the declaration provided that it would remain in full force

and effect until the board subsequently determined that all necessary emergency

actions had been taken and took specific action to officially end the declared emergency

by a majority vote taken at an open meeting,” he continued.

He noted that effective July 1, Gov. Ralph Northam’s statewide Declaration of

Emergency expired and all executive orders imposing COVID-19 restrictions either

expired or were terminated.

“Accordingly, I respectfully seek your consideration in officially ending the local emergency in

Southampton County pursuant to §44-146.21 (A), Code of Virginia,” he stated.

The board wasted no time in getting to the vote July 27, with there being no division on the matter among supervisors.

“I don’t see a reason we need to keep this around,” Jerusalem District Supervisor and Board Chair Dr. Alan W. Edwards said of the local emergency status a moment before the motion came to end it.