The impact of the virus was clear at both meetings. Henry Commissioners met remotely, with each dialing in to a glitchy teleconference from seven different locations. Stockbridge leaders met at Stockbridge City Hall, but were separated throughout the council chambers to make sure each was at least 6 feet from the others.
At the beginning of the Henry Commission meeting, County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews said that the south metro community had about 13 confirmed cases. But as it progressed, Matthews told commissioners she had received updated numbers and that Henry County may have as many as 45 cases by the end of the day.
Commissioner Gary Barham said he had considered voting against the restrictions on business, but changed his mind after Matthews updated the numbers of infected.
“I think we have to talk bold action,” Barham said in voting to close the businesses.
County attorney Patrick Jaugstetter suggested that Henry might consider taking its restrictions further and implementing "shelter in place" rules that would order residents to stay home across the board, except in cases of emergency, to get food or to go for walks or hikes in which residents keep a distance of at least 6 feet from each other. But commissioners defeated a vote to give him an extra hour to come up with language for such an order.
“This is something that would also have to be discussed with the cities,” Commissioner Chairwoman June Wood said. She said she didn’t think a county ‘shelter in place’ order would work without first getting “a collaborative agreement with the cities.”