Towns County calls for citizens to shelter in place, defines essential business

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Towns County COVID 19 coronavirus
Towns County shelter in place

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – On March 31, 2020, Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, in cooperation with the county’s attorney and emergency officials, called for citizens to shelter in place as the COVID-19 pandemic increases in spread. All non-essential businesses are urged to close or work remotely.

The decree defines Essential Businesses as the following:

  • Healthcare operations and critical infrastructure.
  • Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the sale of canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meat/fish/poultry, and other household consumer products such as hygiene and personal care products.
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing.
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.
  • Gas stations, auto supply, auto repair, and related facilities.
  • Banks and related financial institutions.
  • Hardware stores.
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other providers of services necessary in maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residents and Essential Businesses.
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes.
  • Educational institutions – including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities engaged in distant learning or performing essential functions while maintaining six feet of social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers.
  • Restaurants and other establishments that prepare and serve food, limited to delivery and take-out services. Cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes, and relative facilities are exempt from the declaration.
  • Businesses that provide supply products necessary in facilitating residents to work from home.
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies necessary to operate.
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to residences.
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, or children.
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services.
  • Childcare facilities.
  • Construction services.
  • Utility, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, railroads, public transportation, taxi/rideshare, solid waste collections and removal, internet, and telecommunication systems.

Businesses that cater to visitor recreation are considered non-essential. “Tourism Rentals” are additionally considered non-essential, and lodging facilities must cease operations to limit a potential overload on the local healthcare system and emergency response. Organized gatherings of 10 or more persons on all county-owned or -operated property are prohibited. No curfew has been issued for Towns County nor by its cities at this time.

“I’m sorry for the inconveniences to the businesses, but I want to tell you this. The pandemic is real. It’s spreading. We’re doing everything we can to keep it out of our county,” Commissioner Bradshaw said. “So I’m asking the county to stay at home. I’m asking for no visitors here whatsoever. We don’t need them. We don’t want them right now. We’ll welcome them back with open arms at a later date.”

Continue to follow FYN for now-news as COVID-19 developments occur in our counties of coverage.





  1. B. Wood March 31, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    We all have to do what is necessary to help stop this epidemic and stay healthy. Thank all of you for helping to stop spreading this nasty stuff .

  2. Yuva Blankenship March 31, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    How does Towns County plan on keeping the visitors out while here stay home if the Sheriff and police don’t check it out.Like the Pawn shop,the bar across from the little hardware ,people come there and to Ingles also out of towners? I saw people at the little motel acoss the road from the Exon station this evening late if he closed them someone isn’t listening.Thank you

  3. Marie Jacqueline Fortier April 1, 2020 at 6:27 am

    In order to keep people from out of town out of our grocery stores. Ingels and such should have an attendant at all doors checking ID’s to see where they reside…. They are the ones that are coming up to the mountains to their 2nd or 3rd homes that they do not frequent during the winter and are hoarding supplies in order to replenish their pantries….. do not let them into the stores…. unless they live in either of the surrounding counties……. just saying they need to learn what “STAY HOME” means…

  4. Blane April 1, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Please just stay home….

  5. Jennifer Poole April 1, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Where is the Towns County Sheriff? Who is enforcing people who don’t live here to go home? Who is enforcing the campers to leave the campground? Based on an experience I had, there should be a sheriff at the grocery stores. There should be someone checking ID to get in our grocery stores. There should be law enforcement at every entry point to the county to at least monitor who is coming and going! A FL resident bought 3 carts of toilet paper from one of the smaller stores… likely because the grocery stores haven’t had it, among other essentials for at least 2 1/2 weeks now. Who in Towns Co is enforcing this?

    • Flo April 18, 2020 at 9:19 am

      Kudos to this writer, and we totally agree! Yesterday, made a trip to Ingles, and based on what I witnessed on two different occasions in reference to rude comments being made in an exchange with customers……I decided to drive through the parking lot to check out the license tags. I found the following; 3 tags from DeKalb, 2 Fulton, 2 New York, 3 Florida! PLEASE, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT SOMEONE NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING FAST.

  6. Jackie Hunter April 1, 2020 at 11:36 am

    I am so proud of our Commissioner, Mr. Cliff Bradshaw. He is taking steps to protect the citizens of Towns County as an elected official should. From the predictions being made, there could be 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the U.S. during the next two weeks. If you don’t to be out, keep your ass at home. If you are here from out-of-town, take your ass back home. You are not welcome here during these perilous times.

  7. Jackie Hunter April 1, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Got a question, why is the campground at the Ga. Mtn. Fairgrounds still open? It needs to be shut down and those camping there now told to go home. If it isn’t closed down, just wait until the weather gets a little warmer and watch it fill up. Some of those campers may bring this virus with them, if they haven’t already.

    • Diane Wadley April 4, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      I’m sure they already have brought the virus. We now have our first case in Towns County. Go home, people! My husband and I have not been able to purchase any toilet paper and we need it. There is never any at Ingles or the Dollar General stores. Also, we live close to an RV Park that has over 100 part time residents. It’s starting to fill up!

  8. William Dailey April 1, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I think they should also inform people of what they can do during a shelter in place. It seems rules can change from state to state. The way I understand it is you are not supposed to go anywhere unless it’s for things like food or medicine but then I see they let hardware stores be open. The only way you can go to a hardware store is to get out of your home. What if we want to go fishing or hunting? That’s a source for getting food. I am all for staying away from other people. I was pretty good at it before the virus. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Diane Wadley April 4, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Same here, William. The thing that really ticks me off is the governor has now opened all the Georgia beaches and the state parks remain open. I saw an article showing the people going to Vogel State Park. Hundreds of people. You couldn’t even find a parking spot. Thanks for nothing, Governor Kemp!

  9. Thomas Segars April 1, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Please define “construction services”. What type/s does this cover?

  10. Benny Cone April 4, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Are the Boat ramps closed in Towns county ? B

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