Coronavirus updates for White County: March 18-25

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  • Coronavirus updates for White County
    Coronavirus updates for White County
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Updates about closings, cancellations or postponements will be posted here. You can share related news tips at publisher@whitecountynews.net.


To see previous listings of closings, cancellations and postponements, click here.


White County Operations Update during COVID-19 (5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 – Updated items in red, per operations report) 

White County Operations Update during COVID-19 (Updated Items in Red)

White County is implementing its emergency response plans and working diligently to ensure the health and safety of county employees who deliver services to our citizens. The county has closed those functions that encourage social gathering such as the Senior Center, libraries and parks and recreation through the end of the March. The Emergency Operations Center is open and monitoring the pandemic and helping elected officials make informed decisions about limiting operations and potential closings. White County is providing COVID-19 information on its website, www.whitecounty.net, and also on the Emergency Management Facebook page.

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 and for at least two weeks (through Friday, April 3, 2020) – as a precaution and to limit exposure from person to person contact, White County Government will be restricting access to facilities. White County will continue to provide services via phone, email, internet and mail. Employees will be available by these methods on a daily basis during normal business hours.

Below is a list of White County operations and their current operating status. Please understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is a very fluid situation that may call for a change of operations at any time. White County will update this information on a daily basis.

1 confirmed case of COVID-19 in White County according to Georgia Department of Public Health.

White County Commissioner’s Office –

  • The Board of Commissioners office is open for operations but closed to the public. Citizens are encouraged to do business electronically or on the phone. Contact 706-865-2235 for information.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

White County Emergency Management Office - The office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-865-9500.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • The EOC is operational and monitoring the Pandemic. White County is currently at Level 3, normal operations.

  • The Civilian Emergency Response Team is on standby but have conducted inventories of emergency equipment.

  • White County Fire Services is operational but limiting access to fire station and EMS to protect first responders.

  • White County EMS is operational and using enhanced precautions to protect first responders.

  • Animal Control will be open for intakes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday and open for adoptions on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call ahead at 706-219-2689.

White County Courthouse – Courthouse will be open with limited access during normal business hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

  • Clerk of Court’s office will be available for public access as required by law.

  • Other Courthouse offices will have limited public access.

White County Clerk of Court – The office is open. Social distancing guidelines are in place. Contact 706-865-2613.

  • Under Georgia Supreme Court and Enotah Circuit Judicial orders, any non-essential hearings and court filing deadlines are suspended until expiration of said orders and new court notices will be mailed.

  • Grand Jury scheduled for April 6, 2020 has been deferred until May 4, 2020.

  • Essential hearings are being held utilizing 4-6 feet of social distancing between parties.

  • Online filings are available for civil matters, real estate and liens. All filers are encouraged to e-file or mail requests if possible.

  • All judicial and non-judicial functions of the office are being conducted with no delays.

  • The number of people in the record room will be limited to 4. Please call ahead for an appointment.

  • Access to employee areas is restricted and all matters will be conducted at the office entrance, lobby area or covered front porch of the courthouse.

  • Do not enter the clerk’s office if you have flu type symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not been cleared by a doctor, have been exposed or believe you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

White County Sheriff – Office is open with limited access. Contact 706-865-5177.

  • Jail – inmate contact has been suspended with greater isolation to prevent introduction of virus to jail population. Enhanced health screenings in place. Contingency plan in place in the event of needing to hold infected inmates.

  • Personal protective equipment has been distributed and is being used by both patrol and jail personnel.

  • Limited access to Sheriff’s administrative and records offices.

White County Probate Court – Office is open to the public with limited access. Contact 706-865-4141.

  • Operating under Georgia Judicial Emergency Order – All non-essential hearings, trials, or services provided by the Probate Court have been temporarily suspended during the pendency of this emergency.

  • For emergency situations and critical needs, please contact the Probate Court office via telephone at 706-865-4141 or by e-mail for guidance and process.

White County Magistrate Court – Contact 706-865-6636.

  • Operating under the Georgia Judicial Emergency Order – all deadlines and time schedules or filing requirements are suspended, tolled, or extended in all civil, criminal and administrative matters.

  • Non-essential hearings, trials, or services provided by the Court are temporarily suspended.

  • Filings from the public will be accepted, but everyone is encouraged to take advantage of on-line services at www.whitecounty.net/courts/magistrate-court/magistrate-services

  • If you have an emergency need – call 706-865 6636.

    • Emergency/critical needs would be as follows:
    • Pre-warrant applications for Domestic Violence or an immediate threat exists to the safety or wellbeing of the affiant or third-party.
    • Good Behavior applications where an immediate threat exists to the safety or wellbeing of the affiant or third party. 
    • Garnishment traverses.
  • All essential functions of Magistrate Court such as law enforcement arrest warrants, search warrants, fugitive warrants, 1st appearance hearings, fugitive hearings, and bond reviews will continue as usual and in compliance with the Georgia Judicial Emergency Order.

  • Copies of documents from the Magistrate Court, or if a matter needs to researched, please call the office and staff will work to fulfill the need through e-mail or mail at no additional cost.

White County Senior Center – Center is closed. Call 706-865-4097 to report concerns about seniors.

  • Meals on Wheels and wellness checks are continuing.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

White County Parks and Recreation – Recreation Center and gymnasium are closed. Contact 706-865-5275.

  • All scheduled activities, including practices and games for volleyball, baseball and softball are cancelled through April 3.

  • Yonah Preserve Trails and outdoor facilities are open. Social distancing is recommended.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

White County Libraries – Libraries are closed to the public until April 3. Contact 706-865-5572.

  • All use of library community room has been canceled.

  • Book drops are closed. All overdue fines waived until we reopen. Patrons are asked to keep all books till we reopen.

  • Statewide courier service and all book hold service suspended.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

White County Community and Economic Development – Office is open for operations but closed to public. Contact 706-865-6768.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • Building Inspections and Permits – Call 706-865-6496 to request inspections. Permits will be issued by e-mail.

  • During building inspections, social distancing will be practiced. Contactors are encouraged to not be at the worksite during inspections or stay in their vehicles. Communication will be via phone or e-mail.

  • Payments can be made with a credit card over the phone or call 706-865-6496 to receive payment instructions for cash or check.

  • Planning and Zoning – Call 706-865-6768.

  • Code Enforcement – Call 706-865-6496.

  • GIS/Mapping – Call 706-865-6496.

  • Transfer Station – Open normal hours. Call 706-865-3716.

  • White County Convenience Center – open normal hours (Mon/Wed from 9-5 and Saturday from 8-4.) Call 706-865-7655. Please practice social distancing.

White County Public Works (Road Department) – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Call 706-865-2510.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • The department is open to respond by phone or e-mail to any Road Dept. related questions, work order requests for road problems, right of way or driveway permit preparation, vendor questions and to set up Invoices for payments.

White County Tax Assessors – Office is open for operations but closed to public. Contact 706-865-5328. 

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

White County Tax Commissioner – Office is open via drive through only. Lobby is closed. Contact 706-865-2225.

  • Effective Monday March 23 – April 3 2020 the Tax Commissioners office will be servicing customers through the drive through window only.

  • Employees will be available by phone, email and the internet in order to provide customer service.

  • On-line options are available at the White County Tax Commissioner page located at www.whitecounty.net

  • Vehicle registration renewals and property tax payments may be handled online.

  • Postal service postmarks for mail payments are honored by the Tax Commissioner’s office.

  • Questions concerning individual situations can be handled by call 706-865-2225 or by e-mail to wctc@whitecounty.net

White County Extension Office – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-865-2832.

  • The White County Extension Office will remain operational Monday through Thursday and closed on Friday’s indefinitely.

  • The Extension Service will accept water and soil samples at the side door via a drop box on Monday and Tuesday only.

White County Voter Registration – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-865-7812.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • Presidential Primary election has been postponed to May 19, 2020.

  • Absentee ballots will be sent out beginning March 31 to those that request them.

White County Coroner – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-8653101.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

White County Water Authority – Office is open for operations but closed to public. Contact 706-865-0788.

  • Bill payment can be completed by mail, over the phone, utilizing drop boxes at the office or at Gateway Plaza on 129 South, or online at www.whitecountywater.org (you will need the web ID number off your bill.)

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

  • Turner Creek Water Plant is closed to the public.

White County Schools – Schools are closed per Governor Kemp’s order.

  • On-line learning is happening. Those without internet can pick up work packets on Mondays at your school. Teachers are responding by phone, e-mail and on-line learning venues.

  • School nutrition is providing sack lunches and next-day breakfast at distribution location on the White County Schools website. Drive through meals can be picked up at White County Middle School from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. Meals will be available the weeksof March 23-27 and March 30 – April 3, 2020.

  • Spring Break will be observed April 6-10, 2020.

Alpine Helen/White County Welcome Center – Center is closed. Contact 706-878-3842.

  • Tourist information is available outside the center. Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

City of Cleveland – City Hall is closed to the public March 17 - April 6. Call 706-865-2017.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail generalinfo@cityofclevelandga.org

  • Information is available on the website www.cityofclevelandga.org.

  •   Fire station is on lockdown with no unauthorized entry.

  •   No special event permits are being issued.

City of Helen – Public access to Helen City Hall is closed from March 19 to April 1, 2020.

  • City staff is available by phone 706-878-2733 or email info@cityofhelen.org.

  • Payment can make utility, citation, tax and permit payments by phone, using the drop box at City Hall or on-line. The standard credit card fee will be waived during the time the City Hall lobby is closed.

  • Alcohol Server Permits will not be issued while Helen City Hall is closed to the public. Anyone required to have an Alcohol Server Permit will be required to contact City Hall and provide their name, address and business name in order to serve alcohol during this time.

  • The public restrooms located on Chattahoochee Strasse (behind the Arts Center) will be temporarily closed. Public restrooms on River Street and at the Welcome Center will remain open.

  • Restaurants are closed for dining inside and outside; they are available for delivery, takeout, curbside, and drive thru.

  • There will be no special events approved at this time and will not be reconsidered until April 21, 2020.

  • The City has issued a local state of emergency. (See attached letters posted)

  •  Information is available on the website www.cityofhelen.org

White County Family and Children Services –DFCS Customer Contact Center

  • Operations continue via teleworking.

  • Lobby is closed to the public.

  • Food stamp and Medicaid applications can be mailed in, completed on-line or via telephone.

  • Child welfare and protection services continue to be operational.


White County School System

White County schools will continue with the learning from home plan through Friday, April 3, in accordance with Gov. Brian Kemp's directive. 

In a news release this morning, White County School System Superintendent Dr. Laurie Burkett made the announcement and said spring break will stay the same, April 6-10. 

"The White County School System is grateful for all of the support and cooperation during the recent school closure," Burkett said. "Ensuring that our students continue to learn during this time is our main priority. Teachers continue to be available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1 p.m.-3 p.m. and can be contacted by email or phone during those times. Teacher websites and Google Classrooms will be updated regularly with student assignments. Packets are still available to K-1 students and any student that does not have internet access. Please call your student’s school if you have any questions or concerns."

The feeding program, which provides students with breakfast and lunch, will continue at the 13 locations, along with the drive through at the middle school from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. The meals will be available the weeks of March 23-27 and March 30-April 3, 2020. The list of locations for pick-up can be found at the school website.

The Backpack Buddies program will be providing additional food for families on Friday, April 3.

Updates will be posted on the school system's website.


City of Cleveland

The City of Cleveland is asking residents to not flush wipes of any kind down the toilet. While the product may state that it is flushable, it will not degrade in the system and will cause a backup.

In an effort to support the continued guidance provided by our State and Federal leaders the City of Cleveland has extended the temporary closing of City Hall to public access through April 6, 2020. City business will continue to be conducted by staff who are available by phone, 706-865-2017, email generalinfo@cityofclevelandga.org or you can get information from the City's website, or through the city’s drop box at City Hall.  This practice is undertaken as a precautionary measure to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help protect the public from this disease.


White County Operations Update during COVID-19 (5 p.m. Monday, March 23 – Updated items in red, per operations report) 

White County is implementing its emergency response plans and working diligently to ensure the health and safety of county employees who deliver services to our citizens. The county has closed those functions that encourage social gathering such as the Senior Center, libraries and parks and recreation through the end of the March. The Emergency Operations Center is open and monitoring the pandemic and helping elected officials make informed decisions about limiting operations and potential closings. White County is providing COVID-19 information on its website, www.whitecounty.net, and also on the Emergency Management Facebook page.

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 and for at least two weeks (through Friday, April 3, 2020) – as a precaution and to limit exposure from person to person contact, White County Government will be restricting access to facilities. White County will continue to provide services via phone, email, internet and mail. Employees will be available by these methods on a daily basis during normal business hours.

Below is a list of White County operations and their current operating status. Please understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is a very fluid situation that may call for a change of operations at any time. White County will update this information on a daily basis.

0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in White County according to Georgia Department of Public Health.

White County Commissioner’s Office –

  • The Board of Commissioners office is open for operations but closed to the public. Citizens are encouraged to do business electronically or on the phone. Contact 706-865-2235 for information.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

White County Emergency Management Office - The office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-865-9500.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • The EOC is operational and monitoring the Pandemic. White County is currently at Level 3, normal operations.

  • The Civilian Emergency Response Team is on standby but have conducted inventories of emergency equipment.

  • White County Fire Services is operational but limiting access to fire station and EMS to protect first responders.

  • White County EMS is operational and using enhanced precautions to protect first responders.

  Animal Control will be open for intakes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday and open for adoptions on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call ahead at 706-219-2689.

White County Courthouse – Courthouse will be open with limited access during normal business hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

  • Clerk of Court’s office will be available for public access as required by law.

  • Other Courthouse offices will have limited public access.

White County Clerk of Court – The office is open. Social distancing guidelines are in place. Contact 706-865-2613.

  • Under Georgia Supreme Court and Enotah Circuit Judicial orders, any non-essential hearings and court filing deadlines are suspended until expiration of said orders and new court notices will be mailed.

  • Grand Jury scheduled for April 6, 2020 has been deferred until May 4, 2020.

  • Essential hearings are being held utilizing 4-6 feet of social distancing between parties.

  • Online filings are available for civil matters, real estate and liens. All filers are encouraged to e-file or mail requests if possible.

  • All judicial and non-judicial functions of the office are being conducted with no delays.

  • The number of people in the record room will be limited to 4. Please call ahead for an appointment.

  • Access to employee areas is restricted and all matters will be conducted at the office entrance, lobby area or covered front porch of the courthouse.

  • Do not enter the clerk’s office if you have flu type symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not been cleared by a doctor, have been exposed or believe you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

White County Sheriff – Office is open with limited access. Contact 706-865-5177.

  • Jail – inmate contact has been suspended with greater isolation to prevent introduction of virus to jail population. Enhanced health screenings in place. Contingency plan in place in the event of needing to hold infected inmates.

  • Personal protective equipment has been distributed and is being used by both patrol and jail personnel.

  • Limited access to Sheriff’s administrative and records offices.

White County Probate Court – Office is open to the public with limited access. Contact 706-865-4141.

  • Operating under Georgia Judicial Emergency Order – All non-essential hearings, trials, or services provided by the Probate Court have been temporarily suspended during the pendency of this emergency.

  • For emergency situations and critical needs, please contact the Probate Court office via telephone at 706-865-4141 or by e-mail for guidance and process.

White County Magistrate Court – Contact 706-865-6636.

  • Operating under the Georgia Judicial Emergency Order – all deadlines and time schedules or filing requirements are suspended, tolled, or extended in all civil, criminal and administrative matters.

  • Non-essential hearings, trials, or services provided by the Court are temporarily suspended.

  • Filings from the public will be accepted, but everyone is encouraged to take advantage of on-line services at www.whitecounty.net/courts/magistrate-court/magistrate-services

  • If you have an emergency need – call 706-865 6636.

    • Emergency/critical needs would be as follows:

      • Pre-warrant applications for Domestic Violence or an immediate threat exists to the safety or wellbeing of the affiant or third-party.

      • Good Behavior applications where an immediate threat exists to the safety or wellbeing of the affiant or third party.

      • Garnishment traverses.

  • All essential functions of Magistrate Court such as law enforcement arrest warrants, search warrants, fugitive warrants, 1st appearance hearings, fugitive hearings, and bond reviews will continue as usual and in compliance with the Georgia Judicial Emergency Order.

  • Copies of documents from the Magistrate Court, or if a matter needs to researched, please call the office and staff will work to fulfill the need through e-mail or mail at no additional cost.

White County Senior Center – Center is closed. Call 706-865-4097 to report concerns about seniors.

  • Meals on Wheels and wellness checks are continuing.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

White County Parks and Recreation – Recreation Center and gymnasium are closed. Contact 706-865-5275.

  • All scheduled activities, including practices and games for volleyball, baseball and softball are cancelled through April 3.

  • Yonah Preserve Trails and outdoor facilities are open. Social distancing is recommended.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

White County Libraries – Libraries are closed to the public until April 3. Contact 706-865-5572.

  • All use of library community room has been canceled.

  • Book drops are closed. All overdue fines waived until we reopen. Patrons are asked to keep all books till we reopen.

  • Statewide courier service and all book hold service suspended.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

White County Community and Economic Development – Office is open for operations but closed to public. Contact 706-865-6768.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • Building Inspections and Permits – Call 706-865-6496 to request inspections. Permits will be issued by e-mail.

  • During building inspections, social distancing will be practiced. Contactors are encouraged to not be at the worksite during inspections or stay in their vehicles. Communication will be via phone or e-mail.

  • Payments can be made with a credit card over the phone or call 706-865-6496 to receive payment instructions for cash or check.

  • Planning and Zoning – Call 706-865-6768.

  • Code Enforcement – Call 706-865-6496.

  • GIS/Mapping – Call 706-865-6496.

  • Transfer Station – Open normal hours. Call 706-865-3716.

  •  White County Convenience Center – open normal hours (Mon/Wed from 9-5 and Saturday from 8-4.) Call 706-865-7655. Please practice social distancing.

White County Public Works (Road Department) – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Call 706-865-2510.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • The department is open to respond by phone or e-mail to any Road Dept. related questions, work order requests for road problems, right of way or driveway permit preparation, vendor questions and to set up Invoices for payments.

White County Tax Assessors – Office is open for operations but closed to public. Contact 706-865-5328.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

White County Tax Commissioner – Office is open via drive through only. Lobby is closed. Contact 706-865-2225.

  • Effective Monday March 23 – April 3 2020 the Tax Commissioners office will be servicing customers through the drive through window only.

  • Employees will be available by phone, email and the internet in order to provide customer service.

  • On-line options are available at the White County Tax Commissioner page located at www.whitecounty.net

  • Vehicle registration renewals and property tax payments may be handled online.

  • Postal service postmarks for mail payments are honored by the Tax Commissioner’s office.

  • Questions concerning individual situations can be handled by call 706-865-2225 or by e-mail to wctc@whitecounty.net

White County Extension Office – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-865-2832.

  • The White County Extension Office will remain operational Monday through Thursday and closed on Friday’s indefinitely.

  • The Extension Service will accept water and soil samples at the side door via a drop box on Monday and Tuesday only.

White County Voter Registration – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-865-7812.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

  • Presidential Primary election has been postponed to May 19, 2020.

  • Absentee ballots will be sent out beginning March 31 to those that request them.

White County Coroner – Office is open for operations but closed to the public. Contact 706-8653101.

  • Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020.

White County Water Authority – Office is open for operations but closed to public. Contact 706-865-0788.

  • Bill payment can be completed by mail, over the phone, utilizing drop boxes at the office or at Gatway Plaza on 129 South, or online at

    www.whitecountywater.org (you will need the web ID number off your bill.)

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

  • Turner Creek Water Plant is closed to the public.

White County Schools – Schools are closed per Governor Kemp’s order.

  • On-line learning is happening. Those without internet can pick up work packets on Mondays at your school. Teachers are responding by

    phone, e-mail and on-line learning venues.

  • School nutrition is providing sack lunches and next-day breakfast at distribution location on the White County Schools website. Drive through meals can be picked up at White County Middle School from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays.Alpine Helen/White County Welcome Center – Center is closed. Contact 706-878-3842.

  • Tourist information is available outside the center. Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

City of Cleveland – City Hall is closed to the public March 17-27. Call 706-865-2017.

  • Staff is available by phone or e-mail.

  • Fire station is on lockdown with no unauthorized entry.

  • No special event permits are being issued.

City of Helen – Public access to Helen City Hall is closed from March 19 to April 1, 2020.

  • City staff is available by phone 706-878-2733 or email info@cityofhelen.org.
  • Payment can make utility, citation, tax and permit payments by phone, using the drop box at City Hall or on-line. The standard credit card fee will be waived during the time the City Hall lobby is closed.

  • Alcohol Server Permits will not be issued while Helen City Hall is closed to the public. Anyone required to have an Alcohol Server Permit

    will be required to contact City Hall and provide their name, address and business name in order to serve alcohol during this time.

  • The public restrooms located on Chattahoochee Strasse (behind the Arts Center) will be temporarily closed. Public restrooms on River Street and at the Welcome Center will remain open.

  • Restaurants must follow Governor Brian Kemp’s mandate that restaurants follow the Georgia Restaurant Association’s recommendation of a 30-person maximum, including servers, inside closed quarter areas. A restaurant may accommodate up to 50 people if the tables are spaced approximately 12 feet apart. The exception is that all outside seating is exempt if the 6-foot spacing requirement can be adhered to. It is recommended to utilize takeout and delivery options as much as possible.

  • There will be no special events approved at this time and will not be reconsidered until April 21, 2020.
  • Information is available on the website www.cityofhelen.org

White County Family and Children Services –DFCS Customer Contact Center

  • Operations continue via teleworking.

  • Lobby is closed to the public.

  • Food stamp and Medicaid applications can be mailed in, completed on-line or via telephone.

  • Child welfare and protection services continue to be operational.

    This list will be updated daily.


Habersham EMC

Starting at 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, March 24, Habersham EMC personnel will transition to working remotely. By eliminating the concentration of employees in a central location, we are trying to do our part to ‘flatten the curve’ while minimizing interruptions to the services we provide to our members.

  • The Clarkesville drive-thru will remain open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

  • Member Service Representatives will continue taking calls and handling email inquiries – only they may be working from home rather than at the office.

  • A minimal number of personnel will still report to the office to handle some on-site duties while complying with the social distancing guidelines.

  • Our field crews will continue to work on construction, right-of-way and maintenance projects.

  • Davey Resource Group, an HEMC contractor, will continue the system inventory.

  • Personnel will be available to respond to any outages and hazards.

“We did suspend in-home installations of Trailwave Fiber last week due to COVID-19. Those appointments will be rescheduled as soon as health officials say it is safe to do so. We greatly appreciate the patience and understanding of HEMC members and Trailwave Fiber subscribers during this unprecedented event,” states Habersham EMC’s Acting CEO, Whit Hollowell.

HEMC’s working remotely status will remain in effect through April 12 at which point it will be re-evaluated.


DFACS

To limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public, DFCS encourages families to access self-service options online during this period.

 Self-service options include:

Apply for Food Stamp and Medicaid Benefits 
Visit: 
gateway.ga.gov (verification documents can also be uploaded and case status info is available for all benefits)

Download an Application:
https://dfcs.georgia.gov/services

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

Visit: https://www.connectebt.com/gaebtclient  or call: 888-421-3281 for updates

Those without internet access can contact the DFCS Customer Contact Center at 877-423-4746 for additional information or to request a paper application. Once completed, applications and any required verification can be mailed back to your local county DFCS office.  County office locations are available online at https://dfcs.georgia.gov/locations.  


White County Operations Update during COVID-19 (5:30 p.m. Friday, March 20 – Updated items in red, per operations report) 

White County is implementing its emergency response plans and working diligently to ensure the health and safety of county employees who deliver services to our citizens. The county has closed those functions that encourage social gathering such as the Senior Center, libraries and parks and recreation through the end of the March. The Emergency Operations Center is open and monitoring the pandemic and helping elected officials make informed decisions about limiting operations and potential closings. White County is providing COVID-19 information on its website, www.whitecounty.net, and also on the Emergency Management Facebook page. 

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 and for at least two weeks (through Friday, April 3, 2020) – as a precaution and to limit exposure from person to person contact, White County Government will be restricting access to facilities. White County will continue to provide services via phone, email, internet and mail. Employees will be available by these methods on a daily basis during normal business hours. 

Below is a list of White County operations and their current operating status. Please understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is a very fluid situation that may call for a change of operations at any time. White County will update this information on a daily basis. 

No confirmed cases of COVID-19 in White County according to Georgia Department of Public Health. 

White County Commissioner’s Office The Board of Commissioners office is closed to the public. Citizens are encouraged to do business electronically or on the phone. Contact 706-865-2235 for information. 

• Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020. 

White County Emergency Management Office - The office is closed to the public. Contact 706-865-9500

• Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020. 

• The EOC is operational and monitoring the Pandemic. White County is currently at Level 3, normal operations. 

• The Civilian Emergency Response Team is on standby but have conducted inventories of emergency equipment. 

• White County Fire Services is operational but limiting access to fire station and EMS to protect first responders. 

• White County EMS is operational and using enhanced precautions to protect first responders. 

• Animal Control will be open for intakes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday and open for adoptions on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call ahead at 706-219-2689

White County Courthouse – Courthouse will be open with limited access during normal business hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

• Clerk of Court’s office will be available for public access as required by law. 

• Other Courthouse offices will have limited public access. 

White County Clerk of Court – The office is open. Social distancing guidelines are in place. Contact 706-865-2613

Under Georgia Supreme Court and Enotah Circuit Judicial orders, any non-essential hearings and court filing deadlines are suspended until expiration of said orders and new court notices will be mailed. 

Grand Jury scheduled for April 6, 2020 has been deferred until May 4, 2020. 

• Essential hearings are being held utilizing 4-6 feet of social distancing between parties. 

• Online filings are available for civil matters, real estate and liens. All filers are encouraged to e-file or mail requests if possible. 

• All judicial and non-judicial functions of the office are being conducted with no delays. 

• The number of people in the record room will be limited to 4. Please call ahead for an appointment. 

• Access to employee areas is restricted and all matters will be conducted at the office entrance, lobby area or covered front porch of the courthouse. 

• Do not enter the clerk’s office if you have flu type symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not been cleared by a doctor, have been exposed or believe you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. 

White County Sheriff Office is open with limited access. Contact 706-865-5177

• Jail – inmate contact has been suspended with greater isolation to prevent introduction of virus to jail population. Enhanced health screenings in place. Contingency plan in place in the event of needing to hold infected inmates. 

• Personal protective equipment has been distributed and is being used by both patrol and jail personnel. 

• Limited access to Sheriff’s administrative and records offices. 

White County Probate Court Office is closed to the public. Contact 706-865-4141

• Operating under Georgia Judicial Emergency Order – All non-essential hearings, trials, or services provided by the Probate Court have been temporarily suspended during the pendency of this emergency. 

• For emergency situations and critical needs, please contact the Probate Court office via telephone at 706-865-4141 or by e-mail for guidance and process. 

White County Magistrate Court – Contact 706-865-6636

• Operating under the Georgia Judicial Emergency Order – all deadlines and time schedules or filing requirements are suspended, tolled, or extended in all civil, criminal and administrative matters. 

• Non-essential hearings, trials, or services provided by the Court are temporarily suspended. 

• Filings from the public will be accepted, but everyone is encouraged to take advantage of on-line services at www.whitecounty.net/courts/magistrate-court/magistrate-services 

• If you have an emergency need – call 706-865 6636

     o Emergency/critical needs would be as follows: 

     o Pre-warrant applications for Domestic Violence or an immediate threat exists to the safety or wellbeing of the affiant or third-party. 

     o Good Behavior applications where an immediate threat exists to the safety or wellbeing of the affiant or third party. 

     o Garnishment traverses. 

• All essential functions of Magistrate Court such as law enforcement arrest warrants, search warrants, fugitive warrants, 1st appearance hearings, fugitive hearings, and bond reviews will continue as usual and in compliance with the Georgia Judicial Emergency Order. 

• Copies of documents from the Magistrate Court, or if a matter needs to researched, please call the office and staff will work to fulfill the need through e-mail or mail at no additional cost. 

White County Senior Center – Center is closed. Call 706-865-4097 to report concerns about seniors. 

• Meals on Wheels and wellness checks are continuing. 

• Staff is available by phone or e-mail. 

White County Parks and Recreation – Recreation Center and gymnasium are closed. Contact 706-865-5275

• All scheduled activities, including practices and games for volleyball, baseball and softball are cancelled through April 3. 

• Yonah Preserve Trails and outdoor facilities are open. Social distancing is recommended. 

• Staff is available by phone or e-mail. 

White County Libraries – Libraries are closed to the public until April 3. Contact 706-865-5572

• All use of library community room has been canceled. 

• Book drops are closed. All overdue fines waived until we reopen. Patrons are asked to keep all books till we reopen. 

• Statewide courier service and all book hold service suspended. 

• Staff is available by phone or e-mail. 

White County Community and Economic Development – Office is closed to public. Electronic / phone communication is encouraged. Contact 706-865-6768

• Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020. 

• Building Inspections and Permits – Call 706-865-6496 to request inspections. Permits will be issued by e-mail. 

• During building inspections, social distancing will be practiced. Contactors are encouraged to not be at the worksite during inspections or stay in their vehicles. Communication will be via phone or e-mail. 

• Payments can be made with a credit card over the phone or call 706-865-6496 to receive payment instructions for cash or check. 

• Planning and Zoning – Call 706-865-6768

• Code Enforcement – Call 706-865-6496

• GIS/Mapping – Call 706-865-6496

• Transfer Station – Open normal hours. Call 706-865-3716

• White County Convenience Center – open normal hours (Mon/Wed from 9-5 and Saturday from 8-4.) Call 706-865-7655. Please practice social distancing. 

White County Public Works (Road Department) Office is closed to the public. Call 706-865-2510

• Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020. 

White County Tax Assessors – Office is closed to public. Contact 706-865-5328

• Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020. 

White County Tax Commissioner Office is open via drive through only. Lobby is closed. Contact 706-865-2225

• Effective Monday March 23 – April 3 2020 the Tax Commissioners office will be servicing customers through the drive through window only. 

• Employees will be available by phone, email and the internet in order to provide customer service. 

• On-line options are available at the White County Tax Commissioner page located at www.whitecounty.net 

• Vehicle registration renewals and property tax payments may be handled online. 

• Postal service postmarks for mail payments are honored by the Tax Commissioner’s office. 

• Questions concerning individual situations can be handled by call 706-865-2225 or by e-mail to wctc@whitecounty.net. 

White County Extension Office Office is closed to the public. Contact 706-865-2832

White County Voter Registration – Office is closed to the public. Contact 706-865-7812

• Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020. 

• Presidential Primary election has been postponed to May 19, 2020. 

• Absentee ballots will be sent out beginning March 31 to those that request them. 

White County Coroner – Office is closed to the public. Contact 706-8653101

• Office will be closed to public March 23 – April 3, 2020. 

White County Water Authority – Office is closed to public. Contact 706-865-0788

• Bill payment can be completed by mail, over the phone, utilizing drop boxes at the office or at Gatway Plaza on 129 South, or online at www.whitecountywater.org (you will need the web ID number off your bill.) 

• Staff is available by phone or e-mail. 

• Turner Creek Water Plant is closed to the public. 

White County Schools – Schools are closed per Governor Kemp’s order. 

• On-line learning is happening. Those without internet can pick up work packets on Mondays at your school. Teachers are responding by phone, e-mail and on-line learning venues. 

• School nutrition is providing sack lunches and next-day breakfast at distribution location on the White County Schools website. Drive through meals can be picked up at White County Middle School from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. 

Alpine Helen/White County Welcome Center – Center is closed. Contact 706-878-3842

• Tourist information is available outside the center. Staff is available by phone or e-mail. 

City of Cleveland – City Hall is closed to the public March 17-27. Call 706-865-2017

• Staff is available by phone or e-mail. 

• Fire station is on lockdown with no unauthorized entry. 

• No special event permits are being issued. 

City of Helen – Public access to Helen City Hall is closed from March 19 to April 1, 2020. 

• City staff is available by phone 706-878-2733 or email info@cityofhelen.org. 

• Payment can make utility, citation, tax and permit payments by phone, using the drop box at City Hall or on-line. The standard credit card fee will be waived during the time the City Hall lobby is closed. 

• Alcohol Server Permits will not be issued while Helen City Hall is closed to the public. Anyone required to have an Alcohol Server Permit will be required to contact City Hall and provide their name, address and business name in order to serve alcohol during this time. 

• The public restrooms located on Chattahoochee Strasse (behind the Arts Center) will be temporarily closed. Public restrooms on River Street and at the Welcome Center will remain open. 

• Restaurants must follow Governor Brian Kemp’s mandate that restaurants follow the Georgia Restaurant Association’s recommendation of a 30-person maximum, including servers, inside closed quarter areas. A restaurant may accommodate up to 50 people if the tables are spaced approximately 12 feet apart. The exception is that all outside seating is exempt if the 6-foot spacing requirement can be adhered to. It is recommended to utilize takeout and delivery options as much as possible. 

• There will be no special events approved at this time and will not be reconsidered until April 21, 2020. 

• Information is available on the website www.cityofhelen.org

(END OF WHITE COUNTY OPERATIONS UPDATE) 


White County Board of Registrars

The White County Voter Registrar’s office is still accepting the Presidential Preference Primary absentee by mail ballots until close of business Tuesday, March 24. Voters are encouraged to return their absentee ballots by mail instead of hand delivering the ballot. 

Beginning Monday, March 23, the registrar’s office will be closed to the public. If you need to return the ballot in person please call the Registrar’s office at 706-865-7812 and someone will come outside and get the ballot from you.

If you need to register to vote you can go online to sos.ga.gov/elections or call the registrar’s office and we will mail you an application. The deadline to registrar to vote in the May 19 combined primary is April 20, 2020.

Absentee applications are also available online at sos.ga.gov/elections or call and request an application be mailed to you.


White County Tax Commissioners Office

White County Tax Commissioners Office lobby area will be closed to the public effective Monday March 23 and for at least Friday, April 3, according to a press release from Cindy Cannon, White County Tax Commissioner. The drive-thru will remain open. 

Employees will be available by phone, email, and internet to continue providing customer service and assistance to our taxpayers. If possible, taxpayers are encouraged to use the many online options which may be found on the White County Tax Commissioner page located at www.whitecounty.net.  Vehicle registration renewals and property tax payments may be handled online. Please keep in mind the tax commissioners office also honors postal service postmark for mail payments.

If there are any questions or concerns regarding individual situations, please call the White County Tax Commissioners office at 706-865-2225 or by sending an e-mail to  wctc@whitecounty.net


White County Clerk of Court

The White County clerk's office will be operating on half staff operations and will continue to fulfill all legal obligations, according to a press release from the clerk's office. 

The Georgia Supreme Court and Enotah Judicial Circuit have judicial orders in place that cover all essential and non-essential court hearings. Grand Jury scheduled for April 6, 2020 has been deferred until May 4, 2020.  All other non-essential court hearings have been rescheduled and new court notices will be mailed.

To continue to serve the public in a safe and timely manner, please abide by the following request:

  1. If possible, please conduct filings, inquires and matters in the form of eFiling, mail, or phone.
  2. Do not enter clerk’s office if you have flu type symptoms, been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not cleared by a doctor, been exposed or believe you have been exposed to someone who has COVID19.
  3. The number of people allowed in the record room will be limited to 4. Please call for a possible appointment to confirm you will have access to records at the time you wish.
  4. Access to employee areas is restricted and all matters will be conducted at the office entrance, lobby area, or covered front porchof the courthouse.

White County Caring & Sharing accepting applications March 30, implementing revised procedures

White County Caring & Sharing plans to accept applications for assistance as scheduled on Monday, March 30, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at Cleveland First Baptist Church, 25 Church St., Cleveland.
Revised procedures are to be implemented to allow continued ability to serve those in need while taking appropriate health and safety precautions. These are to include stationing of an application table beneath the canopy outside the main entrance, with applicants to complete forms in their cars and return them to a designated box in order to maintain social distancing.
Leadership of the not-for-profit service organization recognizes the importance of sustaining the program of emergency assistance with rent, utilities and other critical basic needs in these unprecedented times.
Applicants with proof of at least three months of White County residency and original bills and/or landlord letters may qualify for assistance once per six-month period, with a lifetime limit of three assists per household.
Those wishing additional information may phone 706-892-4806.


Smithgall Woods State Park and Hardman Farm State Historic Site

The Smithgall Woods and Hardman Farm Visitor Centers & Parks will remain open during normal, daily operational hours. The facilities will be kept extra clean and well stocked. 

Smithgall Woods State Park has reduced and postponed a number of programs through the end of May. Hardman Farm State Historic Site has postponed all programs through the end of May and is only offering self-guided tours (grounds admission, no guided tours through the mansion) as well. For the moment, all scheduled activities are expected to resume starting June 1 with the summer Master Naturalist 8-week course at Smithgall and National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6 at both sites. 

At Hardman Farm, the Fire and Shine Dinner has been moved to June 20, and the Harvest Festival will be June 28. Tea with Emma has been moved to July, and Valley Voices is being moved to September. At Smithgall Woods, the Flies and Fly Water event has been moved and will be a part of the Cabin Fever annual Bluegrass & BBQ Fall event on Sept. 26. The hiking clinic has also been moved to the fall. 

On Monday, March 23, Hardman Farm announced that due to large crowds over the weekend, they have closed their gift shop and visitor center browsing area to guests. Restrooms will still be open during normal business hours and the trail is still accessible. Staff will be onsite to answer any questions by phone, 706-878-1077.

Starting Monday, March 23, Smithgall Woods has closed the visitor center and gift sho until further notice. Restrooms will still be open during normal hours and the trails are still accessible. Staff members will be onsite to answer any questions by phone, 706-878-3087.


Helen Chamber of Commerce Bingo

Bingo hosted by the Helen Chamber of Commerce at the Festhalle has been postponed until May. It was originally scheduled to start in the beginning of April. 


Restaurants, stores and business closures 

Hofer's Bakery & Cafe announced that they would temporarily closed starting Monday, March 23. Updates will be posted on their Facebook page.

Creekside Gourmet Deli announced they will temporarily close. Updates can be found on their Facebook page

Nora Mill Granary and Normal Mill General Store will be temporarily closed until March 31. Starting Sunday, March 22 through March 31, Nora Mill Granary will offer curbside pickup, online orders and wholesale orders only.Check for updates on their Facebook page

The Georgia mountain Coaster has announced they will be immediately closed until further notice.

The Cool River Adventures building and all aerial activities have been closed until further notice. 

Wildewood: Wildewood gift shop in Helen has announced they are closing for at least two weeks. 

Spice 55 will be closed until further notice starting Monday, March 23. 

The Castle Inn will be closed until further notice. 

Sweet Things on the Square will be closed for the next two weeks.

Old Sautee Store has temporarily closed until further notice. 

Bavarian Mountain Miniature Golf and Arcade will be closed until further notice. 

Helen Wine Company will be closed until further notice.

Cimmi's Courtyard Cafe will close effective immediately for the next two weeks.

Windmill Dutch Imports is closed until further notice. 

ZuZu's Petals Rock Shop has closed.

Itty Bitty Wonders in Helen has closed.

Old Bavaria Inn has closed. 

Lindenhaus Imports has closed until April 1.

The Heidelberg German Restaurant has closed.

Bodensee will be closed until Friday, March 27.

Revival Unique Gifts and Apparel will be closed until further notice. 

Wonderland Antiques and Curiosities has closed through at least Monday, March 30. 

The Alpine Helen/White County CVB and Regional Information Center has closed its operation until further notice. 

Charlemagne’s Kingdom is closed.

Heidi Motel is closed.

Steve’s Old Time Photo is closed.

Kopper Kettle Fudge will be closed for two weeks starting Tuesday, March 24.

Habersham Winery tasting room is closed. Curbside pick up and shipping is available.

Big Daddy's in Helen will be closed from Tuesday, March 24, until at least April 8th. This is a tentative schedule. 

Huddle House in Helen posted on their Facebook page that they are temporarily closing their Georgia locations.

Paul's Steakhouse on the River will be closed until further notice.

The Troll Tavern has closed until at least April 6. 


Mountain Education Charter High School

All Mountain Education Charter High School locations will remain closed until further noticed. Online learning will continue Monday-Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Updates can be found on their website


Ingles

Starting Monday, March 23, Ingles Markets will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Beginning Tuesday, March 24, Ingles will dedicate the first hour of shopping, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to seniors, first responders and people with compromised immune systems. Updates can be found on the Ingles website


Shred Day

United Community Bank shred day has been canceled. The event will be rescheduled, but a new date has not yet been set.


White County Historical Society

White County Historical Program set for Thursday, April 2, has been canceled.