The chairmen of a dozen North Georgia county commissions are calling on Gov. Brian Kemp to close state parks to reduce increase traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.
“As county commissioners in North Georgia, we are writing to request that you issue an executive order closing down all of the state parks located in our area for the duration of the statewide shelter in place order,’ the letter reads. “While we are blessed to live in such a beautiful and abundant area of Georgia that hosts so many wonderful state parks, our constituents are highly concerned about the increased traffic to our area during the statewide shelter in place order. A significant portion of this increased traffic is coming from COVID-19 hot spots such as Atlanta or from other areas outside our state.”
The letter, sent to Kemp Monday afternoon, is signed by Chairman Stacy Hall of Habersham County, as well as Banks County Commission Chairman Jimmy Hooper, Dade County Commission Chairman Ted Rumley, Fannin County Commission Chairman Stan Helton, Franklin County Commission Chairman Thomas Bridges, Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Lumpkin County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery, Rabun County Commission Chairman Greg James, Stephens County Commission Chairman Dennis Bell, Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, Union County Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris and White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner.
Hall and Habersham County Commissioner Tim Stamey led the effort.
“Our communities simply do not have enough hospital beds or medical personnel to care for the inflated population,” Hall said. “Similarly, there is not enough food, dry goods, fuel and other supplies to adequately provide for the numbers we are experiencing.”
Hall and Stamey said normally visitors are welcomed and encouraged across the region, but in this case officials from the 12 counties believe everyone should postpone travel to the area and shelter in place.