WINCHESTER — As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes on, local governments are grappling with whether they should resume in-person meetings.

“I don’t like these little Zoom-y thingies,” Winchester Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chairman Jeff Buettner said Tuesday morning during the panel’s monthly business meeting.

Buettner was referring to Zoom, a popular videoconferencing service that many boards and committees across the country have relied on to meet virtually over the past six months.

Winchester Development Services Director Shawn Hershberger said there’s nothing stopping the EDA from resuming in-person meetings — City Council switched back to face-to-face sessions on Sept. 8 — but it could be a problem if too many spectators attend and violate social-distancing guidelines.

“That typically isn’t a problem for the EDA,” Hershberger said about the small number of citizens that attend the authority’s monthly meetings.

EDA member Doug Toan suggested doing both — resuming in-person meetings while still sharing a live video feed with members of the public.

Hershberger said that’s possible, assuming the full EDA wanted to do so.

Everyone on the authority agreed they prefer in-person meetings, so it is anticipated that October’s meeting will be held at Rouss City Hall. The session would be open to members of the public, but spectators would have to wear face masks and follow social-distancing rules.

Before its next meeting, the EDA will determine if the October session can also be live-streamed for the benefit of people that do not want to risk possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Attending Tuesday morning’s EDA meeting, which was held via videoconference, were Chairman Jeff Buettner and members Lauri Bridgeforth, Douglas Toan, Tim Painter, Addie Lingle, Cary M. Craig Jr. and James Imoh.

— Contact Brian Brehm at

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