Stay informed and updated on COVID-19, especially with Georgia and Elbert County Updates. This webpage includes information on COVID-19, prevention tips and updates from federal, state and local officials.  The purpose of this webpage is to keep you safe and convey the proper information about the Coronavirus and debunk any false information and rumors. The Chamber urges everyone to follow every procedure in order to keep yourself and the others around you safe!

Informational Websites

Business Resources

  • US. Small Business Administration Loan Program Summary: 
    The Small Business Administration currently has two major loan programs in response to COVID-19. A business can apply for both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and Paycheck Protection Program IF there are different use of proceeds for each program. Funds from these loans cannot be comingled. Read more here. 
  • Dept of Treasury Press Release about Reimbursement of Employer Paid Leave
  • Emergency Loan Guide and Checklist for Small Businesses
  • FAQ’s about temporary/partial unemployment insurance: 
    This FAQ guide is intended to help businesses who are navigating the new rules for partial and/or temporary employee unemployment benefits. See the FAQ’s here. 
  • Pinnacle Bank Loan Information: Pinnacle Bank Loan Payment Deferral Program press release 3.26.2020
  • Assistance setting up remote working stations: 
    There are two local businesses that can help your company work remotely during this time. From forwarding multiple office numbers to setting up VPNs. Contact: Bill Brown at Albica Computers (706-283-8833) or Patrick Guarnella at Hart Communications (706-376-4701)
  • How to keep your employees engaged from home
    Read the article here. 
  • Workplace tips for employees:
    This PDF will help you establish good habits during the Coronavirus pandemic. See all workplace tips for employees.
  • 5 Ways to keep employees calm during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Read the article here. 
  • Workplace flyers and graphics (see below the prevention section of this web page)
  •  Click here to see all of Gov. Kemp’s Executive Orders including the Shelter-In-Place order from April 4th. 

FAQ's

  • Should I close my business?
  • It depends on your business, if it is a non-essential business it is advised that you close to the public. Closing your business is a big decision that only you can make. Please feel free to reach out to the Chamber (706-283-5651) to have our Executive Director, Leslie Friedman, help you through this decision.
  • What do I do if I think I may have COVID-19?
  • Call Public Health: 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584). **DO NOT GO TO A DOCTOR WITHOUT CALLING FIRST IN ORDER TO PREVENT SPREAD OF DISEASE**
  • Who is at Risk?
  • According to the CDC: Older adults, People who have serious chronic medical conditions like: Heart disease, Diabetes, Lung disease, etc.

Prevention

  • Wash your hands as often as possible. 
  • Do not touch your face. 
  • Stay at home and away from crowded places as much as possible. 
  • Avoid traveling 
  • Follow instructions by health organizations such as CDC, GA Dept. of Health and World Health Organization. 

Helpful Graphics

Symptoms

* Image from CDC.gov *

Local Updates

Joint Update from Bowman, Elberton, and Elbert County Governments

(click link below to download PDF press release)

EC COVID19 JOINT PRESS RELEASE

 

Update from Doug Collins via Elbert County Emergency Services

Slowing the Spread of Coronavirus

March 17, 2020

Yesterday afternoon, President Trump and his administration released new guidelines for Americans to abide by over the next 15 days to continue to protect the health of our communities. By following these guidelines, every American can play a critical role in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

• Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible
• Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people
• Use pickup or delivery options and avoid eating or drinking in public
• Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits
• Do not visit nursing homes or long-term care facilities
• Practice good hygiene

Protect Yourself and Your Family

• Listen to state and local authorities
• If you feel sick, stay home
• If your children are sick, keep them at home
• Contact your medical provider if you or your children are sick
• If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID—19, keep your entire household at home
• If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people
• If you have serious underlying health conditions, stay at home and away from other people

Guidance on Large Gatherings

According to the CDC, large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 through individuals who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. This includes conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and more. For this reason, the CDC recommended that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events consisting of 50 people or more. You can read more about these recommendations here.

Resources for Georgians

As of today, the Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed 146 cases of COVID—19 throughout the state of Georgia. You can stay up to date on the number of reported cases in Georgia by monitoring the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Daily Status Reports by clicking here.

If you believe you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath – please be sure to contact your health care provider immediately. The CDC recommends calling your provider ahead of time for guidance on how the facility is handling cases. This will help your healthcare provider take the steps necessary to preventing other people from getting infected or exposed.

We will be sure to keep you updated as we go forward. For additional resources, please visit the CDC’s website here or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Yours in service,

Doug Collins

Member of Congress

Update from the City of Bowman

Update from Georgia Power

Georgia Power assures continued safe and reliable service, offers resources and tips for customers during COVID-19 pandemic

Energy assistance programs, scam avoidance tips, employee safety updates available for customers  

ATLANTA – March 17, 2020 – Georgia Power remains committed to providing customers continued safe and reliable service, while offering updates on additional energy assistance programs and providing the latest scam avoidance tips as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The company announced last week that it would temporarily suspend residential disconnections beginning Saturday, March 14, 2020, for 30 days, and will reevaluate the decision and timeframe as the situation develops. Georgia Power highly encourages all customers to continue to make payments and practice energy efficiency to avoid large balance due amounts when the suspension ends.

Assistance when you need it

Georgia Power partners with nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations to offer assistance programs to those in need. Programs include:

  • Georgia Power’s Senior Citizen Discount – Georgia Power customers 65 years of age or older who meet the income requirements for eligibility can receive up to $24 a month off their bill.
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – Georgia Power supports the Division of Family & Children Services to help qualifying, low-income households pay their home energy bills.
  • The Salvation Army’s Project SHARE: Established in partnership with The Salvation Army, Georgia Power customers can provide assistance to residents in the same community for expenses, such as utility bills, housing, food and medical necessities.

Georgia Power has also developed public service announcements (PSAs) to highlight the various assistance and energy efficiency programs available to customers. The PSAs encourage customers to explore www.GeorgiaPower.com/EnergyAssistance to find the best solutions for their individual need. The PSAs can be viewed on the company’s YouTube channel.

Customer Scam Warnings

Additionally, Georgia Power is urging customers to be aware of scammers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers should beware of phone calls demanding payment via phone. Georgia Power will never ask for a credit card or pre-paid debit card number over the phone. If a customer receives a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from Georgia Power and demanding payment to avoid disconnection, they should hang up and contact the company’s customer service line at 888-660-5890. Georgia Power works with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to identify and prosecute criminals who pose as Georgia Power employees in order to defraud customers. Additional information about frequent scams and how the company works to protect customers is available at www.GeorgiaPower.com/Scams.

 

Georgia Power Employee Safety

Georgia Power has been closely monitoring the potential threat posed by COVID-19 since January. Proactive actions have been taken to both prevent the spread of the illness and protect the safety and health of employees, including:

  • Implementing telecommuting for those who can perform their duties remotely
  • Cancelling facility tours and external meetings
  • Increasing cleaning frequency at company locations
  • Aggressively sanitizing work areas
  • Cancelling all non-essential business travel – both domestic and international
  • Asking employees to self-identify, if they have or plan to travel internationally
  • Using technology for meetings

The company regularly provides information and updates on the virus to employees, including prevention recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, and is following the latest developments and updates from public health officials and medical professionals.

Vogtle 3 & 4 and COVID-19

Georgia Power remains focused on protecting the safety and health of workers at the Vogtle 3&4 site, and the company’s implementation of comprehensive plans have helped us take every action to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic. Our proactive steps employ aggressive worker distancing strategies, including expanding our onsite medical clinic, adjusting break schedules and setting up mobile facilities to add more distance between individuals onsite. We continue to draw on the expertise of medical professionals and consult the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as we encourage the workforce to more closely monitor their health and report concerns. We have also taken immediate precautionary steps to identify and notify workers who were located in close proximity to the individuals being tested and have sent those team members home while we await test results.

Additional proactive action steps by the company to support distancing and hygiene initiatives include:

  • Adding portable bathrooms and washing stations, adjusting break schedules and setting up additional space with overflow tents.
  • Closing our onsite cafeteria
  • Suspending onsite mass transit trams and shuttle busses.
  • Limiting one person per transaction for tools and materials pickup
  • Pre-staging certain tools and materials ready for pickup.
  • Disinfecting tools prior to check-in

 

About Georgia Power

Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), America’s premier energy company. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company’s promise to 2.6 million customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the company is consistently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower), Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower) and Instagram (Instagram.com/ga_power).

 

# # #

Update from Elbert County Parks and Recreation

The top priority of ECPR is the health and well-being of our community. Currently, Elbert County Little League has SUSPENDED all practices and activities until Saturday, March 28. This is subject to be possibly extended with the situation evolving each day.
Therefore, ECPR with guidance from the Governor’s Office, Department of Public Health and Elbert County EMA will be taking the following appropriate precautionary measures to decrease the public health risk of spreading the coronavirus:

At this time ALL PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES ARE SUSPENDED through Friday, March 27. This includes L3 Baton, CJ’s Karate, Zumba Fitness and Lifetime Tennis. The Suspension could possibly be extended with the situation continuing to evolve each day.

All indoor facilities including the gymnasium and meeting rooms will also be closed until Friday, March 27. We will evaluate the situation on March 26 to see if the suspension of activities and use of indoor facilities needs to be extended with this ever changing situation.

ECPR will continue to thoroughly clean and sanitize park facilities to help prevent the spread of germs.

Outdoor facilities will remain open for public use except for any organized activities or practices at this time.

Please continue to protect yourself and your family members by following the CDC guidelines,

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

This is a continuously evolving situation and ECPR will continue to respond and adapt as new information is made available as new guidelines are issued frequently by the CDC.

Thank you all for working with us to keep our community healthy.

Update from The Elbert County Public Library System

The Elbert County and Bowman Public Libraries are closing to the public beginning at 2PM on Wednesday, March 18 until further notice. Staff will continue to report to the library from 10AM to 5PM at Elberton and 12 to 6PM at the Bowman library through Monday, March 23 when conditions will be reassessed.

In the meantime, Patrons needing reading materials or  copy/fax services can take advantage of our curb-side service!

Patrons should call their library (Elbert Co. 706-283-5375, Bowman 706-245-0705) prior to their arrival and provide staff with their full name and library card number along with title or subject requests.  Staff will select up to 5 adult books or 10 children’s books per family  and deliver them to you in front of the library.  Please call the library upon your arrival and describe your vehicle so we know who to bring what item to.

Patrons wishing to fax or make copies should call us upon arrival and we will send gloved staff members out to pick up documents and payments at your car then return with your copies or fax confirmation and change. We will offer this service through Monday or until a reassessment indicate that we should stop.  

Patrons with books coming due may renew them by phone 706-283-5375 for Elberton & 706-245-0705 for Bowman; however, fines will not accrue while the libraries are closed and items turned in for the first week after re-opening will be checked in under a fine amnesty! 

While your stuck at home, why not locate those long overdue books and return them that first week we re-open!

Concerning our efforts to assist with the 2020 Census: 

Our current plans are to have mobile computer  stations set up in various locations throughout the county to assist with Census 2020 filing. Please follow us on Facebook, the Elberton Star, WSGC radio, and Elberton.net cable channel  to find locations near you.  If you are a member of a church and can get approval for us to set up in your fellowship hall or parking lot for  an afternoon or morning and can help us advertise to your community, please call Jan at 706-283-5375 with contact information and location.

Please feel free to call us for more information or check out and like our Facebook page for updates about the library and occasional posts of  interesting and educational  things we find on the internet.

Janet A Burroughs, Director

Elbert County Public Library

Update from Elbert Memorial Hospital

Update from The Medical Center of Elberton

Firstly, please understand exposure. In this instance, exposure means that you have either been in close contact with someone that has tested positive for coronavirus or you have visited a location (most likely overseas) with a high rate of positive coronavirus cases. If you have been exposed, please call our office or your healthcare provider to speak with a physician regarding your symptoms. If further evaluation is needed we will provide you with next steps. Please DO NOT PRESENT IN PERSON BEFORE SPEAKING WITH A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IN ORDER TO REDUCE EXPOSURE RISKS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

The State of Georgia Health Department has issued a public health hotline for the general public to answer common questions. The number is 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584). After dialing the number, press 3 for COVID-19 extension, then press 1 for information and answers to common questions.

We continue to encourage all people to practice the following steps in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus:
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
3. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
5. Get a flu shot!
6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as counters, doors, knobs, desks, keyboards, tablets and phones.  
Properly washing hands is the MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do to stop the spread of coronavirus. Please be sure to use soap and water and wash for 20-30 seconds or sing “Happy Birthday” two times through. Soap and warm water are the most effective way to clean your hands, however if this is not readily available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. For more information please visit the CDC website as this is the only reliable source of information.  
If you have additional questions, please contact our office at 706-283-3315 or your healthcare provider.”

Update from Gov. Kemp regarding Driver Services

March 23, 2020

Governor Brian P. Kemp and Department of Driver Services (DDS) Commissioner Spencer R. Moore announced an emergency operation plan for the Agency which includes a 60-day extension for many Georgians with a driver’s license and/or ID Card nearing expiration. Along with the extended expiration dates, the DDS customer service centers will cease customer-facing services until further notice for the well-being of customers and DDS team members alike.

Governor Kemp said, “To maintain a safe and healthy environment for our citizens and the DDS Team who assist them at the Centers, this is an important step. Having an extension allows hundreds of thousands of Georgians to legally drive and have proof of identity during this emergency period while DDS centers are closed.”

In February, DDS served over 250,000 customers in person statewide and is one of the highest volume agencies serving the public in the State. DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore commented “I appreciate the Governor’s prompt action to protect the health of DDS customers, Team Members, and their families. Our business partner, Thales, is to be commended for swiftly endorsing our emergency plan to provide the extended cards to our customers.”
All valid GA driver’s licenses and ID cards with an expiration date between now and June 30, 2020, will receive an extension by a period of 60 days. Notices will be mailed, and new cards will be printed and mailed directly to customers.

Eligible types include ID cards, commercial (CDL) and non-commercial driver’s licenses, limited permits and driving permits.
Medical Certifications and CDL endorsements will be extended along with the CDL licenses.
Customers who need to reinstate their license or upgrade from a Class D to a Class C license should utilize DDS Online Services at www.dds.georgia.gov.
Customers who are new to Georgia will not be served during the closure period and should continue using their credentials from their former state. A plan to reopen safely for these customers is being developed.

Last week, an extension was provided for approximately 36,000 customers age 60 and older with a valid license or ID with an expiration date from March through June 30, 2020. DDS also suspended all road testing, non-commercial and commercial, to follow the recommendation of public health authorities regarding social distancing.

DDS Online Services can be accessed at www.dds.georgia.gov or download the mobile DDS 2 GO app to conduct your licensing business anytime from the comfort of your home or office.

 

Update from Capt. Darin Rucker

“Elberton City Court, effective  Monday, March 16th. City Court operations for March 16th has been suspended due to a Statewide Judicial Emergency. All cases that were scheduled for March 16th has been reset. The new court date is Monday, April 20, 2020 at 1:00pm.”

Update from Elbert County Government

“In an effort to comply with the Governor’s determination that a Public Health State of Emergency exists due to the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 the Elbert County offices will be closed to the public until further notice. All employees are expected to report to work at regular times. Any payments, deadlines or other special requirements can be handled by email, mail or calling the departments directly. We appreciate the patience.”

Bob Thomas
Elbert County Administrator
45 Forest Avenue
Elberton, GA 30635

 

Update from The City of Elberton

“The City of Elberton is open for business to serve our customers and citizens while monitoring the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus in our area. The Governor has declared a public health state of emergency, so we want our personnel in all our office locations to be safe and ready to serve all our customers as needed.
Please remember that all transactions with Elberton Utilities and ElbertonNET may be conducted over the telephone or online. There is no need for anyone to come to our Customer Service Center in person. We’re open and ready to help you, but please give us a call at 706-213-FAST. That’s 706-213-3278.
Payments may be made at our websites ElbertonUtilities.net or Elberton.net, or we can take your payment over the phone. Requests to turn on or turn off service may be done over the phone or online, and requests for a payment extension may also be done over the telephone.
Our drive-through window is open every day during the week, Monday through Friday, to accept cash or check payments. Our night drop box is also available at any time. There’s no need to visit us in person.
Channel 409 on ElbertonNET will be dedicated for the rest of the month of March to posting local messages about the Coronavirus response in our area. Email us at info@elberton.net if you have any updates to post.
Give us a call at 706-213-FAST with any questions you might have about your services with Elberton Utilities or ElbertonNET.

The City of Elberton also announced Sunday that the Elbert Theatre and the Elberton Arts Center will be closed starting March 16 and continuing through March 31, 2020. Events scheduled through those dates will be postponed or cancelled due to the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the declaration of a State of Emergency in Georgia. A decision about events after March 31 will be made at a future date.”

Update from The Elbert County Board of Education

April 2, 2020

Dear Elbert County School Community,
 
Yesterday, Governor Brian Kemp announced that all public schools in Georgia are closed for in-person instruction through the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Many of us expected this announcement would be coming, but it didn’t make it any less devastating. Our students learn best when they are in our schools, but the safety and well-being of everyone in our community takes precedence and we support the Governor’s difficult decision. Below are important updates as a result of this announcement.
Online/Distance Learning and State Testing
Online/Distance learning will continue. Teachers and schools will continue with the learning processes that have been implemented since buildings closed in mid-March. As shared earlier, there will be no Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade or End-of-Course assessments this year.
Meal Service
Our district will continue providing meal service at this point. Meal Service will not be provided during Spring Break. Please visit elbert.k12.ga.us/covid19 for details.
Prom and Graduation Ceremony
To the Class of 2020: we are thinking of you and know this is a difficult way to end your senior year. We are proud of the hard work and perseverance you are demonstrating. If at all possible, our goal is to hold our high school prom and graduation ceremony at a later date. We are currently communicating with other school districts in our region regarding graduation ceremonies and other important end of the year events.
This is an extremely difficult time for our entire nation, Thank you for continuing to socially distance and help contain the spread of COVID-19. Each of us has the ability to make a positive impact in the interest of public health. As we look forward to Spring Break and a break from academic work, I hope you will be able to enjoy the time at home with your families. Blessings to everyone.
Sincerely,
Chuck Bell, Superintendent

Updated information can be found here: https://www.elbert.k12.ga.us/Domain/2430?fbclid=IwAR0sBIbWXVUlw4YVd6XCYrGhjskSTODPj_wwdWyVdkXi5-qpmggwksegY9c

 

May 2020

The Elbert County Public Library and the Bowman Library will phase in a limited opening of our facilities to the public Monday, May 18. For patrons who are considered at risk or vulnerable, curbside service will remain an option for receiving reading materials and other library services such as faxing, photocopying, and printing.
We are excited about re-opening! While the staff will be constantly disinfecting surfaces to ensure your safety, we require that our patrons also follow new safety guidelines.
Patrons must maintain 6 feet of social distancing from fellow patrons and staff.
Patrons will immediately wash their hands upon entering the building. We also encourage you to wash your hands again as you prepare to leave the facility.
Patrons must wear a protective mask or face covering while in the library. This can be as simple as a bandana pulled up over the nose & mouth. This is not necessarily for your safety but for the safety of fellow patrons and staff.
Library visits should be limited to 30 minutes or less.
We must limit the number of people in the building to 10 at one time.
While there is a danger of COVID-19 spread, children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult at all times while visiting the library. Adults should closely supervise the children in their care to ensure they are not touching potentially contaminated surfacing then touching their face. We want to keep everyone healthy!
To conform to social distancing guidelines, a reduced number of computers will be made available to patrons. Unfortunately, time allowed on the computers must also be limited. We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get online. We must insist that recreational web surfing, social media activities be curtailed while using the library computers.
When browsing the shelves, we request that books removed from the shelf and not selected for checkout be returned to a special pink cart so they can be quarantined for 72 hours.
Books being turned in will be quarantined for 72 hours prior to them being checked in. This is to reduce staff handling of potentially contaminated materials. Books will not be charged overdue fees during this time.
If you have long overdue books at home, now would be a great time to turn them in. ALL materials will be checked in under the AMNESTY status until June 15. Hey, it’s a FINE FREE FIESTA!
We appreciate the patience of our patrons during this time. We want to serve you the best we can while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Our hope is that the added restrictions can be lifted as we progress through the summer. It all depends on rate of transmission of COVID-19.
If the virus increases again in the fall and winter, we may need to once again limit onsite library usage. Library staff are attempting new ways of reaching our patrons virtually through social media, new apps, and online services. Folks, it’s a new world we’re living in and we’re all learning as we go. I thank you for your cooperation and understanding. – Jan Burroughs, Director

The Elbert Chamber seeks to provide access to recommendations, regulations, services and expertise to its members.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, this mission remains constant.  Prior to acting, members should consult their own professional advisors for information and counsel specific to the individual and unique situations faced by organizations, individuals and corporations.  The opinions, interpretations and recommendations of the Elbert Chamber are informational only and should not be relied upon by the recipient as legal or professional advice.  The Elbert Chamber makes no representations as to the accuracy or reliability of the content contained herein.  Users of this information accept any and all risks associated with the use of such information and agree that the Elbert Chamber has no liability to user.

Scroll to Top