Gilmer ordered to shelter in place

  • Shelter-in-place order
    Shelter-in-place order

Gilmer County is being ordered to shelter in place.

A order was issued by the county board of commissioners at a special meeting March 24. It runs from midnight March 24 through 11:59 p.m. April 7. The order followed a declaration of emergency.

Gilmer County Chairman Charlie Paris said he determined the order was needed following a conference call with officials from Piedmont Healthcare.

“They are projecting that unless the counties do a shelter in place right away, they will be out of hospital beds within a week,” Paris said.

On Monday, the day previous, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered bars and nightclubs closed and put in an order limiting gathering to 10 people or less.

“The governor didn’t go as far as I thought he would,” Paris said.

Gilmer County was going to have to shelter in place at some point, he said.

“I think it is inevitable,” Paris said. “There is no point waiting until we are out of beds and then doing it.”

A shelter-in-place order will require all nonessential workers to stay at home during the period of the order. Exceptions will be made for emergencies and to get groceries and medication.

Essential businesses include pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, the courthouse, liquor stores, gas stations, food production and transportation. A complete list will be available on the county website at

“Farmers can still farm and the chicken plant can still chicken,” Paris said.

Face-to-face contact needs to be limited, but he does not want to disrupt the supply chain, Paris said.

“I think it is the common sense thing to do,” he said.

The order would not cover the cities, just the unincorporated area of the county. He said he talked to the cities and they were on board, although they may not call for sheltering in place.

Churches are asked to abide by the order in good faith.

Larry Lykins, who is part owner of Lykins Family Dentistry and Cartecay Vineyards, argues against the order. He asked the commission to follow the governor’s lead.

“Do you understand the magnitude of shutting multiple businesses down and some of them are just not going to come back from this,” he said.

Mariah Henderson of Dillard Towing said she was also a small business owner. 

“The courage to do something big, and on a big scale, for a short period of time to nip this in the bud would be way more beneficial for small businesses than dabbling in the water and creating a situation that causes us to be shutdown for months at a time,” she said.