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.”
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