Press Releases

Elbert County Chamber of Commerce says “YES” to Sunday sales

Elberton, GA: The Elbert County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously at their October board meeting to support the Sunday alcohol sales referendum that is on the ballot for early voting going on currently and for election day, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

There are two items on the ballot regarding Sunday sales of alcohol. The first one would allow retail stores to sell alcohol after 12:30pm on Sundays. The second one would allow restaurants to serve alcohol to customers after 11am on Sundays. The Chamber of Commerce supports both measures and believes Sunday sales of alcohol will benefit our local businesses and the local economy by keeping local dollars here at home.  

Sunday alcohol sales will help Elberton restaurants and stores by giving them the opportunity to increase their revenue through beverage sales. Passing these ordinances could also lead to positive outcomes in attracting new restaurants and retail stores, thus strengthening the economic development of the area.

“Currently, those people who wish to purchase alcohol on Sunday are traveling to Hartwell, Athens, or elsewhere outside Elberton. When you vote to pass Sunday alcohol sales, the money being spent elsewhere will hopefully come back to Elberton,” says Chamber Chairman, Al McCall. “Not only will the actual dollars stay local, but it will also keep tax revenue that would be spent elsewhere here at home.”

In summary, the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce believes that voting “yes” to Sunday alcohol sales is a vote “yes” to stronger businesses and economic development growth.

Leslie R. Friedman, President/Executive Director

Elbert County Chamber of Commerce

Do you really want economic growth? It’s time to prove it.

Elberton, GA: The economic health of a community is not the responsibility of one person. It takes every single citizen working together to create a thriving community. We need business owners, creative thinkers, and middle managers. We need passionate citizens, vibrant youth, and activists. But most of all, we need doers.

Are you going to spend the entirety of 2020 complaining about what could be better? Or, are you going to take action and help make our already great community even better? Words without action are merely hot air. If we want to see something happen in the community then we need to be people of action. We need to get plugged in. We need to find a cause we’re passionate about. And we need to start doing.

There’s no better place to start ‘doing’ than the Elbert Co. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber serves the community in several ways including promoting tourism and advocating for local business. If you are interested in helping the community continue to progress and thrive, then you may consider serving on the Chamber Board of Directors. The Chamber is currently looking to fill several Board positions that will come open in March 2020.

The Chamber Board of Directors is responsible for governing the Elbert Co. Chamber of Commerce and is active in most community related decisions. The Board is made up of 15 Directors who serve for 3-year terms starting in April and ending in March. Each Director is a volunteer that is nominated from the Chamber of Commerce membership body.

In order to be chosen as a Director of the Board, a nominee must be a current member in good standing, fill out an online nomination form, and meet the requirements outlined at The current Board of Directors will vote on the nominees.

To nominate yourself, or someone else, to be on the Board of Directors for the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce visit: Deadline for all applications is Feb. 14th. Please direct any questions to the Chamber office at 706-283-5651 or to myself directly:

Elbert County Chamber of Commerce to introduce Leadership Program in 2020

Elberton, GA: The Elbert County Chamber of Commerce is re-establishing a leadership program in Elbert County. The new leadership program is called Lead Elbert and will welcome its first class of participants in August 2020.

Lead Elbert will be a renewed, modern version of Elberton’s previous leadership program: Leadership Elberton. Leadership Elberton was an adult and youth leadership program that ran from 1996 until 2013. It was conducted by the City of Elberton and Elbert Co. Chamber of Commerce and used curriculum from the J.W. Fanning Institute of Organizational Leadership at the University of Georgia.

The new leadership program is being formed by an executive committee of 13 community leaders in diverse areas of employment and experience. This committee is hoping to take the most effective parts of the previous program and combine them with new, current material in order to bring about a leadership program that is relevant and effective to both the participants and their employers.

“We at the Chamber are very excited to revive this Leadership program, to take up the reigns, and renew it from where it left off,” says Chamber Chairman, Al McCall. “Leslie and I want to first say thank you to the people who have agreed to serve on the executive committee, which includes Cindy Churney and Alan Lee, who previously spearheaded the program. We appreciate all their commitment and input into getting the program back off the ground and helping it be as meaningful and robust of a program as it can be. We are looking forward to the re-establishment of the leadership program, so our community can have a leadership pipeline of individuals who will remain in our community and be agents of positive change. We are confident that the program will empower, motivate, and connect future leaders with educational resources and experiences necessary to bring about the positive change that will continue to make Elbert County a great place to live.”

Leadership Program Seeks Nominations

The LEAD ELBERT Program is seeking participants for the 2020-2021 Program Year. LEAD ELBERT is a new leadership program open to anyone who would like to gain community awareness while honing their leadership skills.  In order to partake in the LEAD ELBERT program, participants must be nominated by an employer/mentor/etc. via the nomination form provided on the Elbert Chamber website. The deadline for nominations is June 30th; the program will officially start in September 2020. For more details about the program, including participant requirements, please visit: Specific questions can be directed to Leslie Friedman at or 706-283-5651.

School Board Reopening Updates

Directly from John Jarvis, Superintendent:

The Elbert County School District is committed to providing students with a high quality education while prioritizing the health and safety of staff, students, and the Elbert County community. Our system and school leaders continue to work with local and state officials to monitor circumstances surrounding COVID-19 in order to make the most informed decisions. Our plan to reopen schools for face-to-face instruction on Monday, August 17th is based on the most current information; however, we acknowledge that the situation is subject to change. We will continue to collaborate with appropriate officials in order to make adjustments to these plans as necessary. In response to COVID-19 and feedback from our community, ECSD has created a K-12 digital learning option, EC Online, for families not wishing to return into the school building for face-to-face instruction at this time. Instruction (Proposed Calendar with school beginning Monday, August 17th)

● Face-to-face instruction ○ In case of a temporary closure, students will continue learning from their teacher(s) through the Google Classroom platform and printed work packets.

● EC Online option ○ Parents must be able to provide a reliable internet connection.

○ Grades 6-12 has an 18 week commitment

○ Grades K-5 has a 9 week commitment Illness

● All students and staff should self screen. Those who are sick or have symptoms are required to stay at home.

● Any student or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19 must self-report to the school and follow Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools and DPH guidelines before returning.

● Any student or staff member who has a direct exposure (within 6 feet) to a person with COVID-19 without appropriate PPE must self-report to the school and follow Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools and DPH guidelines before returning.

● Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asked to go home and not allowed to return until they are fever free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medicine.

● All schools will have a room to temporarily isolate symptomatic persons until they are able to leave the campus.

● School nurses will serve as the COVID related point of contact for each building. Masks and Face Coverings

● Face coverings/masks are strongly recommended, particularly in settings where social distancing is difficult to accomplish (i.e. class transitions, drop-offs/pick-ups, bus, etc.).

● Frequent handwashing will be encouraged.

● Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms and hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the school buildings.

● Students will be taught to cough/sneeze into an elbow or a tissue.

● Students and staff will be reminded to avoid touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Cleaning and Disinfecting

● Daily and rigorous cleaning protocols will be followed by custodians.

● High touch areas and surfaces will be cleaned frequently throughout the school day. Bus Transportation

● Face coverings/masks are strongly recommended for drivers, monitors, and students.

● Buses will be cleaned and sanitized after the morning and afternoon route.

● Buses will have hand sanitizer for student use. School Nutrition

● Students will eat breakfast and lunch with their class separated from other classes.

● Disposable plates and utensils will be used at all locations.

● No self-serve lines will be available for students.

● Water fountains will be available for filling bottles. Students are encouraged to bring water from home daily. Extracurricular Activities and Sports

● GHSA guidance will be followed for school athletics.

● Clubs and CTSOs are allowed to meet but must follow stricter distancing guidelines and sanitation processes.

● Field trips are suspended until further notice.

● All Elbert County students, regardless of which learning option they choose, are eligible to participate in school athletics, activities, and receive school services. However, these activities may or may not have the ability to operate through a distanced structure.

● Only essential visitors, such as contractors and public safety officials or parents by appointment, will be granted access past the main office at each school.

● All visitors will undergo a temperature check and respond to screening questions prior to gaining entry past the office.

● Individuals with documented underlying health conditions can request reasonable accommodations consistent with the Amaricans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Other School Level Procedure Enhancements

● Modifying classroom procedures and layout to promote social distancing.

● Modifying start of the day and dismissal procedures to promote social distancing.

● Parent school meetings and events will be held virtually or in a blended fashion when possible.

● Traffic patterns will be defined in hallways and common areas. ● Shared materials will be minimized.

● Based on guidance from Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools, DPH, and local health officials, schools may need to close down temporarily for increased sanitation.

● Students will transition to distance learning through Google Classroom (follow school guidelines)

● Once per week meal distribution from school sites will be available.

● We ask that all staff and students self report positive COVID-19 cases to their school.

● The school district will disseminate information to the local DPH as well as informing those individuals who are suspected of having close contact with a person that has tested positive for COVID-19.

● Students and staff will be notified if they have been in direct contact with an individual that has confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Department of Public Health guidelines will be followed.

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