Closures and updates

In an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many communities, including the Braselton area, are shutting down schools, sporting events and public gatherings.

Starting on Thursday, March 12, a cascade of national and state events led a number of quick decisions by officials to try and slow a potential virus epidemic.

One result has been that area grocery stores were slammed Thursday night and Friday with many staple goods being in short supply.

Here is a list of the known local closings and related updates as of this update:

GOVERNMENT

•The Jackson County Correctional Institute has suspended visitations and volunteer services through April 10. All classes and other programs have also been postponed.

Braselton Municipal Courts for March 17 and April 7 have been cancelled.

Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10) will temporarily close his Washington, D.C., office beginning March 16.

•The Gwinnett County Jail is doing additional screenings and cleanings as part of its response to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Those visiting the jail can also expect to be screened.

•The Jackson County Jail has suspended all visitation with inmates for the time being, Sheriff Janis Mangum said in a social media post. Homewave Visitation will continue.

•The Georgia Department of Driver Services has suspended all road testing, non-commercial and commercial, until further notice. Additionally, some DDS Customer Service Centers have closed due to workforce shortages. Some licensing needs can be handled online at www.dds.georgia.gov or on the mobile app, DDS 2 GO.

BUSINESS

Jackson EMC said it will suspend cutoffs for non-payment and will only allow customers to use its drive-through windows March 16-27.

Georgia Power will temporarily suspend residential disconnections for the next 30 days, beginning Saturday, March 14, and will reevaluate the policy and timeframe as the situation develops.

CIVIC AND POLITICAL GROUPS

The Tree House, Inc. has postponed its annual “A Night of Hope for Children” that was scheduled for Friday, March 20.

•The Jackson County Senior Citizens Center will close Monday, March 16 and be closed until March 30. Officials are working to expand the center's meals-on-wheels deliveries to serve all the center's regular visitors who come there to eat. Those affected are asked to contact Senior Center Director Kathy Branyon at 706-367-5101 to coordinate their home delivery of hot, chef, or frozen meals.

Jackson County 4-H has canceled all specialty clubs, competitive team practices and other educational programming starting Monday, March 16 to  March 30.

•The Jackson County Parks and Recreation activities have been canceled March 16-March 28.

Elachee Nature Science Center will close its public facilities starting Saturday, March 14, through Sunday, March 22, suspending all events and programs during this time. The hiking trails in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve will remain open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to sunset.

•All Hall County libraries, as well as Hall County Parks and Leisure programming, including classes, athletic practices, games and other events, will be suspended for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

•The Braselton Library has cancelled some of its regular programs amid concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus. "With Novel Coronavirus spreading throughout the United States, including Georgia, the Braselton Library is canceling Builders Club, Coding Club, and Virtual Reality programming for the rest of the month of March," library leaders reported on social media. The library also recently announced plans to cancel story time throughout the month of March. Library staff plans to reevaluate the situation in April and keep patrons informed on whether or not programming will be running again at that time.

•The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce has cancelled its Spring Job Fair and Career Expo amid concerns over the Coronavirus. The event had been set for Wednesday, March 18. The Chamber has also cancelled the 5K Chamber Chase and Two-Mile Wellness Walk on March 26 at Riverside Military Academy. The Chamber is working to reschedule this event. Hall Chamber meetings and events through March 31 have been cancelled or postponed.

•The March Braselton Farmers Market is cancelled.

The Jackson Historic Courthouse and Archives will be closed “for the next week or so.” "We will keep you informed as to when we reopen,” historic courthouse leaders state. For archive inquiries send questions to historic.committee@jacksoncountygov.com. A volunteer will respond as soon as the archives reopen. For Historic Courthouse/Welcome Center questions, contact the following county employees: Sloane Meyer (Historic Courthouse manager) at smeyer@jacksoncountygov.com or Dawn Arrowood (Welcome Center Coordinator) at barrowood@jacksoncountygov.com.

•The Oconee Rivers Audubon Society is cancelling its upcoming April 2020 monthly meeting in an effort to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Organizers hope to resume monthly meetings in May. All bird walk cancellations will be posted to www.oconeeriversaudubon.org.

•Due to public health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus, the Braselton trolley will not run its regular route for the next three weeks. "We plan to return to our regular route on April 10," town leaders state.

•Beginning March 19, office hours for the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department will be Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

•Braselton has cancelled its Rivers Alive event scheduled for April 11.

SCHOOLS

UPDATE: Governor Brian Kemp has ordered all public schools (K-12 and colleges) to close until the end of March.

Jackson County School System — Closed through April 13.

•The Barrow County School System — Closed through April 13.

Gwinnett County Public Schools will hold digital learning days March 16-27. Spring break is planned March 30-April 3.

Hall County School District — Closed through the end of March.

Athens Technical College has rescheduled its commencement ceremony from April 29 to Monday, August 3. It will be held at 10 a.m. at the Classic Center in Athens. This decision was made after assessing the situation and reviewing CDC and DPH guidelines. “During these unprecedented and challenging times, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff remains our top priority,” said President Andrea Daniel states.

CHURCHES

Gov. Brian Kemp urged churches and other religious organizations to consider suspending services and programs due to the crisis.

Area churches altering their services include:

12Stone Church will move its worship services online on Sunday, March 15, through Monday, March 23. On Sunday, March 15, and Sunday, March 22, the church will gather for an online worship service beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, visit 12stone.com/churchonline.

Celebration Church has cancelled its services for Sunday, March 15, and weekday activities throughout next week. Online services will be available. They will be sent out via email and posted to online, according to a social media announcement by pastor Mike Day. The church’s website can be found at celebrationfamily.com.

Free Chapel will not be meeting at its physical locations on Sunday, March 15. But Free Chapel will have church together online. Worship services are planned online at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. For more information, visit freechapel.org/live

New Liberty United Methodist Church has cancelled all events and worship services March 13-28. The church plans to return to regular worship on March 29. The church’s pastor will offer times of abbreviated worship and prayer online, according to a church social media post.

Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church is suspending all church-related activities and events, including in-person worship, through the end of March. Hamilton Mill UMC will livestream worship through Facebook every Sunday at 11 a.m. during the month of March. “Be sure to log onto Facebook every Sunday at 11 a.m.,” church leaders state. The church office will be closed with staff working remotely. The food pantry will be open and implementing new policies to ensure the safety of the patrons and volunteers.

Hoschton United Methodist Church will not have service or Sunday school for the next two weeks (March 15 and March 22). Additionally, there will be no church-related activities — such as Bible study or youth group — through the end of March. The youth dinner scheduled for the fifth Sunday has been cancelled.

The Vine Church will move its worship service online on Sunday, March 15. The service will livestream on the church website at 9:15 a.m. and will be available the rest of the day. The website is: http://connecttothevine.org.

*White Plains Church will have its 11 a.m. service on Sunday, March 15. The church is located at 3650 Hwy. 124, just past the Subway at Doster Road.

*The Church on the Hill will have a service at Cornerstone Church at the corner of Gum Springs Church Rd. and SR 11 on Sunday, March 15, at 5 p.m. The service will be shared via video on Facebook and the church website at www.hill.church, after the service concludes.

Other area institutions are also looking at closing or altering their schedules.

If you want your event listed here, email the info to

alex@mainstreetnews.com

Stay tuned to this website for additional information in the coming days.

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