Towns County asks visitors to ‘stay home’ as crisis grows

Towns County COVID-19

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- As the COVID-19 crisis sweeps the nation, Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw is asking tourists to think twice before visiting the area. As mountain residents struggle to find items that were once in ready supply at the county’s lone grocery store, the anxiety of travelers introducing the deadly virus to a highly susceptible community is a viable threat.

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Towns County declared a State of Emergency in response to the growing pandemic.

In a county with limited healthcare options – combined with a steep senior population – Commissioner Bradshaw made it perfectly clear that the safety of residents, first responders, and healthcare providers is his top priority.

“I called Senator (John) Wilkerson,” Bradshaw said on Tuesday. “We had a long conversation and I asked him to please make it known to the Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that we love our tourists. We do. We love our tourists. We love our visitors, right? Right now is not the time for visitors. We don’t want visitors right now. When this is over, we’ll welcome them with open arms.”

Click to read: Visitors flock to Towns County from heavy-hit areas

The commissioner explained that while he would require assistance from Governor Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health to legally “close the county down,” Bradshaw hopes that visitors will heed the advice of local, state, and national leaders and remain at home.

“We don’t need people flocking up here, you know, we don’t need that. For their health and ours,” Bradshaw said. “And the second thing I told Senator Wilkerson is please, talk to the governor and close the Appalachian Trail. If you get somebody on the trail and they don’t know they have this virus, and maybe it’s the third day into the trail and they become sick, our public safety has to go get them. That’s putting a strain on our public safety now and also exposing them to a virus.”

In a county that reaps the economic benefits of tourism, Bradshaw stressed that he will spare no expense when it comes to the health and safety of Towns County’s citizens and staff.

“We love our tourists. We want them back,” Bradshaw said. “But right now they need to stay home. So I’m just making that clear.” Bradshaw received high approval and appreciation from residents on social media following his bold stance. Towns County declared a State of Emergency on March 24, 2020, in response to the unprecedented health crisis, closing restaurant dining and numerous, at-risk businesses.


VIDEO: Towns County declares State of Emergency


  1. Doug Sanders March 25, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Thank you for pushing this very important message! We all need to care for ourselves and our own first and foremost!

  2. Roxanne Barrett March 25, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for taking a stand and trying to keep us safe.Our county does have a high population of senior citizens as well as surrounding counties this needs to be enforced. Stay ay home like you have been ask to do
    It will breathy b appreciated

  3. Dianna fréeman March 25, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you fpr looking out for our county ive been saying this for two weeks. It’s wonderful to know our Commissioner cares

  4. virginia badach March 25, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Still hard to find things in the store. No hamburger, very little meat. No sanitizers of any kind. Thank you for talking with the governor.

  5. Bridgett March 27, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Thank you for keeping your residents safe! I also think that you should put something in place like Fannin county has in regards to people who have a second home here. I see several messages a day on Facebook and Nextdoor from people from all over the US asking how it his here, if the grocery stores are stocked and if They should come here. I have noticed there are always out of town plates at Hiawasee Ingles and that is not right! Please put something out that especially if your home town or state has a stay at home order that they should not be here.

  6. Brenda Gale Chastain March 28, 2020 at 7:21 am

    I think the other day when all of the kids where on the beaches and they told them to go up to you all in the GA mountains because it wasn’t up there that that was going to bring all kinds of sickness up there and your food stores should not be able to keep up and your hospitals ,one of my sisters and all of her kids but one live up there and I thought that’s not a good idea because they stay sick up there already they could give people something like colds flu and other things people should stay away from sickly people the time I went up there to visit my sister I got sick so bad because I went up there and got a virus from them and I love going up there but I will stay away because I really don’t want to get sick there so my visitors that have already been up there from other country’s and states and all it takes is one to incorporate the vurus to them and I believe it’s to late they are all going to get it now ,I was so up set to hear everyone was flocking up there and you can’t tell them anything because they know it now days so sad to hear ,just like here in Ringgold GA we have ” one ” case but we have the free way right thru the middle of our town .God Please cure this please in Jesus name .And I would love to go by my Mother’s grave but for now I will love to stay home with my beloved son and daughters and grandkids ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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