Henry joins other metro counties in approving shelter-in-place ordinance

Henry County on Wednesday afternoon approved a shelter-in-place ordinance, becoming the latest community to mandate residents stay indoors to combat the coronavirus.

After an almost 30-minute delay to its special-called teleconference meeting -- leaders said a power surge from Tuesday storms caused network problems -- the commission voted unanimously Wednesday to no longer suggest residents self-isolate, but demand it.

"This will be the third time the board has acted," county attorney Patrick Jaugstetter said, explaining that two previous resolutions on the issue were guidance but had no enforcement mechanisms.

“The big difference between what we’ve done before and what we’ve done now is the restrictions on individuals to travel and to move about the county,” he said. “It is now a mandatory shelter in place.”

Henry's move came just hours after metro Atlanta's biggest county -- Fulton -- also imposed a shelter-in-place ordinance on Wednesday.

Henry and Fulton follow a similar measure that went into effect Wednesday in Clayton County and follows others already in place in Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Rockdale, Newton and several metro cities, including Atlanta, Forest Park, Riverdale and Doraville.

Henry’s ordinance is in effect through April 21, but commissioners left open the possibility of convening another meeting before then if they need to make adjustments based on the impact of the virus.

In an effort to rally residents, commissioners implored the community to act as “one Henry” and support shelter in place and each other.

“We gonna to get through this,” Commissioner Gary Barham said, praising the effort of leaders and residents alike. “It’s going to take all of us working together to make this work.”