BALDWIN - The Lake County Board of Commissioners approved a motion to amend the essential staffing portion of the COVID-19 policy to afford displaced employees up to 25 days of compensation.

According to Lake County Administrator Tobi Lake, the original 15 days approved by the board was intended to carry employees until the end of the executive order that was set to expire in mid-April.

With the order being extended, now to the end of May, the board decide to grant an additional 10 days, he said.

"The compensation days were meant as a supplement to employees that were either working reduced hours, or weren't working at all," Lake said.

Employees can use the additional hours and, once expired, if they have not returned to their jobs, will use their accrued sick leave or vacation hours, as per the county's COVID-19 policy, he added.

In other business, the BOC is looking at implementation of a "reopening" policy.

Lake told the board if the governor cancels the stay-at-home order, then they will need to have a policy in place for bringing employees back and allowing the public back into the buildings.

"If we move toward reopening, we need to decide if we want to bring employees back before hand," Lake said. "We need to have a uniform plan, so that we don't have different departments doing different things.

"Hopefully, by June, we will be able to have our doors open, with protocols in place," Lake said. "We are progressing toward that, and we're hoping the extra ten days will give us time we need to get ready to bring employees back to work."

Those policies will include safety protocols such as screening questionnaires, checking temperatures, maintaining the six feet social distancing and requiring personal protective equipment, such as facemasks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

"If the trend in cases is not going up, and hospitals are not inundated, we can move to phase two and begin bringing employees back," Lake said. "The idea is to wait 14 days between each phase and monitor how things are going."

No action was taken on the policy.

The board also approved implementation of an additional $30 fee for providing finger print scans.

"The new fee will cover some of the county's expense with scheduling and doing fingerprinting," Lake said. "In addition to labor costs, that will include the cost of the LiveScan fingerprint machine and our connection to LEIN, the Law Enforcement Information Network."

The board will meet again at 10 a.m., May 27, via virtual meeting.

For information on how to participate in the virtual meeting visit lakecounty-michigan.com.