McDONOUGH — The Henry County Board of Commissioners voted on new measures Tuesday during a special called meeting via teleconference in its continuing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The resolution is in effect until April 7 for those in unincorporated Henry County.
The county is asking citizens to adhere to the following:
♦ Any person showing or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should refrain from attending public events, entering public buildings, restaurants, shops, public transportation facilities and all other areas where the public comes and goes. Those who are sick should seek medical attention and follow the direction of the doctors until given the clearance to return to public interaction. This includes anyone who has traveled out of the country in the last 30 days.
♦ All indoor recreation, fitness and entertainment facilities are to close immediately and shall remain closed.
♦ All eating establishments, bars and nightclubs in the county should immediately close to in-person dining, consumption of alcohol or entertainment, and switch to delivery, take out or drive through services.
♦ All houses of worship should strive for density reduction in all services, including funerals or baptisms, and practice social distancing. Churches are encouraged to use social media or other video outlets to broadcast worship services. Additionally, funeral homes should strive for density reduction in all activities and ensure vehicles used to transport families are cleaned between uses according to CDC guidelines. Graveside services of 10 people or fewer are highly encouraged.
♦ Henry County residents should not gather in crowds of 10 or more in any location and limit travel as much as possible.
♦ All businesses remaining open during the state of emergency should enact procedures and practices to ensure their clients, customers, staff and employees maintain appropriate physical distance and ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing within the business. Non-essential businesses that cannot operate without ensuring clients, customers, staff and employees maintain appropriate physical distance of 6 feet should close during the state of emergency.
Also discussed during the meeting, commissioners are considering a shelter in place ordinance after receiving a communication from Piedmont Henry Hospital’s CEO Lily Henson stating that if a mandatory shelter in place is not issued Piedmont Healthcare’s system would be at capacity by April 9.
County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews noted that while the most recent number of COVID-19 cases reported in Henry County is at 13 (as of noon Tuesday), the Department of Public Health reported to her office that the number could increase to 45 by Tuesday evening as information from private physicians becomes available.
County Attorney Patrick Jaugstetter was drafting a possible ordinance Tuesday afternoon. Board Chair June Wood said more conversation was required, as well as a need to engage all cities in Henry before such an ordinance was adopted. A shelter in place directive would effectively close the county and require all residents to stay in their homes, with some exceptions.
On Monday, the county issued a statement that government facilities will remain closed and employees will continue to use telework through March 27.
The following is a list of what each city has in place as of Tuesday afternoon to help slow the spread of the virus.
On Tuesday, Stockbridge mayor and City Council approved an emergency resolution mandating the temporary closure of city businesses in effect now through April 7.
All city businesses, with the exception of those types listed, should suspend public access as a precaution for the coronavirus immediately. Medical providers, food and beverage, retailers, gas stations, day cares and banking institutions are among the exceptions. Additionally, critical trades such as plumbers and electricians, mail and shipping, education institutions, laundry services, transportation, home-based care services and restaurants for consumption off premises, are considered essential.
On March 20, McDonough mayor and City Council signed a Declaration of Local Emergency as a result of COVID-19. It prohibits gatherings of more than 10 individuals at any location in the city of McDonough, as well as encourages citizens to comply with social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Office of the Governor.
The city of Hampton has canceled its April 14 City Council meeting due to COVID-19. Additionally, the city is not permitting any public gatherings until further notice. City Hall will remain closed, and The Train Depot and the Catherine Williams Community Center are closed to the public. Municipal Court has been canceled for the month of April.
The city of Locust Grove is asking residents to maintain a 6-foot distance from others, avoid large gatherings and saying no to a handshake and don’t touch your face. Everyone who is sick should stay home and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails.