City Council Approves COVID-19 State of Emergency Ordinance

City Council, News
infection, National Guard

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council voted unanimously to approve their COVID-19 State of Emergency Ordinance during the virtual meeting held on Wednesday, March 25, 2019, following the rest of the local governments in taking action against the spread of the virus.

The ordinance will be in effect for 14 days following the passing, though it also gives the mayor and the city council ability to extend the ordinance if need be, for a period not to exceed an additional 14 days.

Among other measures, no gathering of 10 or more people shall take place on city property while the ordinance is in effect, and restaurants may only service food via delivery, drive-thru or takeout.

Additionally, certain business’ such as gyms, fitness centers, pools, social clubs, amusement facilities, bowling alleys, pool halls, theaters, massage parlors, nail salons, etc. will be forced to close during this time.

The entirety of the ordinance may be viewed below:


WHEREAS, the President of the United States declared a National Public Health Emergency on March 13, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of Georgia declared a State Public Health Emergency on March 14, 2020 and urged”local officials to do what’s in the best interests of their communities to keep people safe and stop the spread of coronavirus’ on March 19, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the World Health Organization has declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) a world health emergency and a pandemic; and

WHEREAS, the number of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 is escalating rapidly, internationally, nationally, and within our Public Health District; and

WHEREAS, based upon the experience of other local governments in Georgia, a growing number of other cases are likely to occur; and

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the President of the United States stated that any gathering of over 10 people should be discontinued or prohibited, and

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, Governor Kemp announced that “certain individuals with an increased risk of complications from COVID-19 to isolate, quarantine, or shelter in place,” covering those who “live in long-term care facilities, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms or exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has СOVID-19”, and that the Department of Public Health would institute rules and regulations to implement such measures;

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, Governor Kemp additionally announced measures to “close all bars and nightclubs and …ban all gatherings of ten or more people” unless they can assure spacing for at least six (6) feet apart between people at all times beginning at noon on March 24, 2020 and lasting until noon on April 6, 2020; and

WHEREAS, public health experts, including those at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH),have advised that individuals infected with COVID-19 are contagious even while experiencing minor or no symptoms and implored leaders to take immediate action to prevent further community spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, preventing and slowing community spread of COVID-19 provides health systems additional time to obtain personal protective equipment necessary to protect health care workers and medical equipment necessary to treat COVID-19, and is therefore vital to the health of the nation;

WHEREAS, in the judgment of the Mayor and Council of the City of Ellijay, there exist emergency circumstances located within its jurisdiction requiring extraordinary and immediate response for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the community, the state, and the nation; and

WHEREAS, it is essential for the governing authority of the City to act immediately in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent or minimize sickness, injury, or death, to people and damage to property resulting from this public health crisis; and

WHEREAS, O.C.G.A. $38-3-28 provides the political subdivisions of this state with the authority to make, amend, and rescind such orders, rules, and regulations as may be necessary for emergency management purposes to supplement rules and regulations promulgated by the Governor during a State of Emergency; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has previously held that “[u]pon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members”; and

WHEREAS, the Charter of the City of Ellijay provides the governing authority of the city with the authority to take actions deemed necessary to deal with such an emergency for the protection of the safety, health, and well-being of the citizens of the city; and

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that a local state of emergency exists within the City and shall continue until the conditions requiring this declaration are abated.


Section 1. Findings of Fact
For purposes of describing the circumstances which warrant the adoption of an emergency ordinance, the governing authority of the city hereby adopts and make the findings included in the “WHEREAS” clauses as findings of fact,

Section 2. Declaration of Public Health State of Emergency
The City Council hereby declares a public health state of emergency within the city because of the proliferation of COVID-19 in the United States and the State of Georgia, which will remain in force and effect for fourteen (14) days from the date hereof. In the event it becomes necessary to extend the public health state of emergency with the city due to the continued proliferation of COVID-19, the City Council hereby declares that the Mayor, upon obtaining advice and consent of the majority of the City Council, may unilaterally extend this emergency ordinance for an additional period not to exceed fourteen (14) days.

Section 3. Public Gatherings on City Property
For the duration of the declared emergency, there shall be no public gatherings on any property owned or controlled by the City. To avoid confusion, the following definitions shall apply under this Section: a “public gathering” shall mean the organized gathering or assembly of ten (10) or morepersons at a specific location; “property owned or controlled by the City” shall include any park, public square, public space, playground, recreational area, or similar place of public gathering, but nothing herein shall prohibit individuals or families from using sidewalks or designated pedestrian areas of parks for walking or other exercise if they are not participating in an organized gathering.

Section 4. Utility Services

Section 5. Classification of City Services
For the duration of the declared emergency, the Mayor shall be vested with the following discretion and authority, to wit:

(a) To categorize City services as either “required” or “discretionary,” and to
periodically review and modify such categories.

(b) To assign specific employees to required or discretionary services, and to
periodically review and modify such assignments. (c) To use his or her discretion to permit employees to telework.

(c) To temporarily suspend the provision of discretionary services and to direct
employees who provide discretionary services not to report to work until such time as the service suspension is lifted or until such time as the Mayor redirects
the employee to other services.

(d) To contract for and expend non-budgeted sums and services, as may in his or her
discretion be required to meet the demands upon government and services of the
City for the duration of the declared emergency, including therein authority to spend such sums from the reserves of the City. Any such non-budgeted
expenditures shall be reported to the governing authority of the City.

(e) To maintain, to the best of the ability of the resources of the City, the provision
of essential services, which shall include, but not be limited to, public safety,
public works, healthcare, and building permits.

Section 6. Tolling of Deadlines
Any deadlines for the purchasing or obtaining by persons or businesses of occupation tax certificates, permits or similar civil approvals mandated by the City Code shall be tolled for the duration of the emergency as established herein, and for 15 days thereafter. Such persons or businesses shall obtain necessary permissions required by law but deadlines set by the City Code are toiled for the duration of the emergency as established herein, and for 15 days thereafter.

Section 7. Eating Establishments
Restaurants and other eating and dining establishments where food is served must cease offering dine-in services but may continue preparing and offering food to customers via delivery, drive-through or take-out services. Patrons, employees and contractors of the establishments must maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance between themselves and others. If a restaurant is licensed to sell beer and wine for on-premises consumption, such restaurant, during the effective dates of this ordinance only, shall be authorized to sell unopened bottles or cans of beer or wine for take-out consumption off-premises;

Section 8. Closure of Certain Businesses
Gyms, fitness centers, pools, social clubs, amusement facilities, bowling alleys, pool halls, theaters, massage parlors, nail salons, and any other similar facility, any facility used for an activity that involves prolonged physical proximity ofindividuals, and any facility usedfor entertainment, social, grooming, or general health and wellbeing purposes,must close and remain closed for the duration of this emergency.

Section 9. Personal Distance
All other establishments not covered in Section 7 of this Ordinance such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other businesses which remain open during the emergency inust post signage on entrance doors informing consumers to maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance between themselves and others and shall not allow more than ten (10) people into such establishment at any one time if such social distancing cannot be maintained.

Section 10. Gatherings
All public and private gatherings of more than ten (10) people occurring outside of a household or living unit are prohibited. Nothing in this ordinance, however, prohibits the gathering of individuals for the purposes of carrying on business certified as “essential” by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency pursuant to O.C.G.A. $ 38-3-58 or designated by the Governor as “critical infrastructure” or the provision of medical or health services.

Section 11. Emergency Interim Successor to Mayor
The governing authority desires to make certain that the chain of authority within city management is clear. If the Mayor is unable to perform his or her duties, then the individual designated by the Mayor as the emergency interim successor pursuant to O.C.G.A. $ 38-3-50 shall assume the duties of the Mayor. This is the Mayor Pro Tem. Should the Mayor Pro Tem be unable to perform those duties, the longest serving council member shall then assume the duties of the Mayor.

Section 12. Curfew

Section 13. Procurement
The governing authority hereby suspends the bid and competitive portions of the City’s Procurement Policy or ordinances and authorize the Mayor to utilize the single-source policy and to require departments to provide a written justification for the procurement during the effective dates of this Resolution and/or utilize any emergency procurement provisions contained. City officials shall continue to seek the best prices during the state of emergency.

Section 14.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this Declaration are hereby suspended during the effective dates of this Declaration (or any extension thereof) and the terms and provisions of this Declaration shall prevail.

This Ordinance after adoption by the Council and upon approval by the Mayor shall become effective immediately.

ORDAINED AND RESOLVED, this 25th day of March, 2020.

City Council Denies 2019 On Premise Consumption License Fee Refund for The Roof Ellijay, Approves Other Consumption License Renewals.

City Council, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council denied an on premise consumption license fee refund for The Roof Ellijay, approves four on premise consumption license renewals, one off premise consumption license renewal, and re-appointed Josh Moyers to the Downtown Development Authority during their meeting held on Monday, December 16, 2019.

Because The Roof Ellijay is opening later than initially planned (currently set to open sometime in March of 2020), they had requested a refund from the Ellijay City Council regarding their on premise consumption license fee.

Initially, during the workshop meeting held just prior to the council meeting, council member Al Fuller seemed to be the only one in favor of potentially issuing the refund, with council member David Westmoreland openly opposed to the idea.

Mayor Al Hoyle made it known that The Roof Ellijay had obtained both their state and local on premise consumption license, and that the state wouldn’t issue a refund for theirs, but that the local consumption license had to be obtained before The Roof Ellijay could obtain their state consumption license, which they had.

Fuller stated that such a refund had never been given before, and that the current ordinance would have to be amended should they vote in favor of the refund.

Westmoreland went on to say that administrative costs come into play, and that, use it or not, once the license has been purchased, it’s been purchased.

During the meeting, the council voted unanimously against the On Premise Consumption License refund.

The following on premise consumption license renewals did take effect though, with the council voting unanimously in favor of each:

Beer, wine, distilled spirits – Ellijay Wood Fired Pizza

Beer, wine – Cantaberry Restaurant

Beer, wine – Boardwalk Pizza and Pub

Beer, wine – County Corner Kitchen

The following off premise consumption license renewals also took place, again with the council voting unanimously in favor:

Hwy 5 General Store

Josh Moyers, already vice chairman of the Downtown Development Authority, was also re-appointed by unanimously by the council, as his term was set to expire.

A video of the meeting may be viewed below! attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit

City Council Approves On Premise Consumption License Renewals for Beer, Wine, and Spirits

City Council, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council approved five on premise consumption license renewals for beer, wine, and distilled spirits and one on premise consumption license renewal for beer and wine during their meeting on Monday, November 18, 2019.

The five on premise consumption license renewals for beer, wine, and distilled spirits are as follows:

Ira Cochran Post 82 American Legion, La Catrina Ellijay, River Street Tavern, The Roof Ellijay, and Roma Hospitality Group (dba, Emily’s Bar and Restaurant).

The one on premise consumption license renewal for beer and wine was for Cajun Depot Grill.

All of the above on premise consumption license renewals were voted on unanimously by the council.

There was another Review and Action on the agenda for an off premise consumption license for the Highway 5 General Store, owner Sowmini Ravula, registered agent Cheryl Waters, but because the background checks have yet to be received by the council, this item was removed from the agenda for the time being. attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit

City Council Nearly Drafts New Alcohol-Related Ordinance for Central Business District

City Council, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council Nearly Drafted an Ordinance to Expand the Area Within the Central Business District Exempted from Distance Requirements for On-Premise Alcohol Licenses during their meeting on Monday, July 15, 2019.

State law prohibits the sale of distilled spirits in or within 100 yards of any church building or within 200 yards of any school building, education building, school grounds, or college campus; Any wine or malt beverages within 100 yards of any school building, school ground, or college campus.

O.C.G.A. 3-3-21-B-3 gives local governing authorities ability to reduce this distance. This is what has been asked of the City Council.

The agenda question regarding this item was as follows: “Shall an Ordinance be Prepared For The Purpose of Expanding the Area Within the Central Business District Exempted From Distance Requirements From Church Structures, School Structures and School Grounds For On Premise Consumption Licenses For Beer, Wine and Distilled Spirits.”

The current Pastor of First Baptist Church was the first to address the council on the matter, stating “We’re greatly affected by the ordinances that we have. We would encourage you to keep the ordinance that we have in place. We have morning and evening activities at our church, we have a full children’s daycare program that runs year-round, and we just feel like there needs to be a buffer with our church and with the sale of alcohol. There are plenty of commercial properties in our city where business people can sell alcohol and we feel like if they choose to do that they need to find a location that is out of that buffer zone that the state law permits. We appreciate your consideration in lieu of 500 people being here tonight, I mentioned it very briefly yesterday, I have about 300 signatures that I could share with you, I could come up with probably 800 with the people that have shared with me if you all need to know our feeling about that issue.”

Mike Lancaster – “I don’t see how you can have establishments that are in the existing boundaries that can sell alcohol and distiled spirits and deny the Coffee Shop the same opportunity. It’s almost like government picking winners and losers.”

JoAnn of the Ellijay Coffee House, one of the business’ seeking the right to serve alcohol in their store, was the second to address the council stating “So thank you for clarifying that, that is is up to you guys to make that change, and certainly appreciate the churches opinion on that matter. I actually got out with a bit of a walking stick yesterday so I could get my head around the current law. 28 Main, which is where it goes to, there door, to there door, is 31 yards, just so you know. So, this buffer, I think the distance is arbitrary. […]We happen to be on the other side of the church. When I was here five years ago, three months, we played with this, maybe even four months. And then, you all said it just needed to be tabled, it just wasn’t a good time. Five years, you’ve given alot of licenses out. We can only conclude on our end it feels a bit discriminatory to us. I feel that it’s a bit capricious of the council to just be… I’m not even sure what’s going on, I don’t even know why we can’t get one, when everyone else seems to be able to get one. I don’t think there’s a sound basis for it, I think it feels very prejudicial to us. That’s all I can say. I hope you reconsider it. I think that, when we bought our building, for everyone to think we would know that, I’m not sure how you think we would know we couldn’t get one when I could have a drink two blocks up the street from our building, so, that to me is just a ridiculous statement that comes up that you should’ve known better well we didn’t, okay? And at the end of the day I don’t really understand why other people have better opportunities than we do and I just think the entire central business district, including the theater, needs to have the right that everyone on River Street at the square does. And I hope you’ll take this really seriously, I think we’ve waited long enough and I think we’ve proven, Rick and I as a business, that we have contributed to this town in every way we can. We love this town, we have incredible guests and I’m sorry the church feels that way, but that’s a church issue, and I’m not asking the church to believe in anything, I just feel like you need to look beyond that.”

Council Member Katie Lancey made a motion to vote on this measure, stating that “I was here when the City of Ellijay was completely dry. I was here when we had the first pouring alcohol ordinance, and we lost by nine votes. I was here for the second when it passed. And I was here, last Saturday night, walking around, enjoying downtown Ellijay. As a member of the City Council, I feel that we are charged and it is our responsibility to facilitate the success of our business’ downtown. This is not about the Coffee House, this is about all of Main Street. So I would like to make a motion, that we direct our City Attorney, to prepare and ordinance for the purpose of expanding the area within the Central Business District exempted from the distance requirements from churches, schools, for the on-premise consumption”, which was met with applause from the crowd.

With no other board members seconding, however, the motion has been laid to rest for the time being.

Any future developments regarding ordinances such as these will be reported on as they become known, so be sure to stay tuned! attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit

City Council Meeting On September 18


ELLIJAY, GA – Monday, September 18, the City Council met to briefly discuss Special Events Ordinance and the Alcoholic Beverage Amendment.

The Special Events ordinance was modified per committee recommendations. Due to these changes it was recommended that a first reading be held at this meeting and a vote to adopt be postponed until the October meeting. This ordinance requires that individual groups, organizations, and people to acquire a permit to use public property and roads. This involves parades, assemblies, demonstrations, protest, road closings and other organized activities.

A second ordinance was presented for a first reading to recommendations of the Alcohol Committee which will remove the fees for Alcohol Licenses from the current ordinance. Instead, it will allow them to be fixed from time to time by the city via resolution.

Citizens and council members were asked if they had any question on either topic and no one had any. Citizens are encouraged to voice their opinions at the next meeting on Monday, October 16, 2017.

New Member Approved for DDA


Brewery Ordinance in Ellijay


Approved in their April Meeting, the Ellijay City Council is moving forward with a new ordinance concerning breweries.

The new ordinance actually allows both breweries, defined as a manufacturer of malt beverages, and brew pubs, defined as a restaurant who manufactures and sells malt beverages on site in draft form.

While the ordinance does add normal distances from schools and churches, it also states that,

“All places of business that front River Street or the Ellijay City Square or are on North Church Street, including but not beyond 29 North Church Street, or North Main Street including, but not beyond 28 North Main and are located within the central business district shall be exempt from the restrictions relating to distance from church structures, school structures and school grounds…”

You can also read the ordinance in entirety below:

Ellijay Brewery Ordinance Pg1 Ellijay Brewery Ordinance Pg2 Ellijay Brewery Ordinance Pg3 Ellijay Brewery Ordinance Pg4

Zoning Issues in Ellijay’s City Council


The majority of citizen’s and council’s input revolved around two issues that faced the Council at Monday nights meeting, November 21.

A Public Hearing was held before the regular meeting to hear citizens speaking for or against a Rezoning of Lot 13 on Legion Road to Commercial. The owner, David Rachlin, stood to speak about his plans for the lot stating he was wanting to establish an RV Resort for visitors to the area.

His Resort idea included 10 RV’s that he would rent to visitors and establish on the premises, so no visitors would need bring theirs. While he expects mostly weekenders and short time stays, the owner also spoke of adding other facilities to accommodate the Resort including a Sauna, Jacuzzi, Game Room, and even a possible Basketball Court.

According to Rachlin, the business has already been tested in a separate area and has been receiving five star reviews on popular sites such as Yelp! The business would be set to open from April 15 to November 1 each year.

However, several neighbors to the proposed lot appeared before the council to oppose the rezoning request such as Gary Blasky, a resident of the nearby Timberwalk Estates, who raised questions about the size of the lot, its boundaries, and the close proximity to his neighborhood.

Another resident of Timberwalk raised her security concerns as well stating the proximity would allow campers in the RV Resort to be only a short walk from residents backyards and their children.

Jim Mahoney, a nearby resident who stated he lived within 200 feet of the lot, opposed the zoning request on concerns about increased noise and traffic on the road in addition to his proximity.

In fact, roughly 10 different people stood in the public hearing to voice their concerns in addition to a report of numerous calls, a 15-signature petition, and a letter from the Environmental Health Department concerned about the size of the lot in relation to the stated plans for a commercial business.

Ultimately, the overwhelming opposition before the City Council led to a 5-0 vote to deny the request.

Other requests before the council involved new and renewed alcohol licenses including, Holts Mini Mart for an Off Premise Consumption Beer and Wine License, Ellijay Convenience for an Off Premise Beer License, Seth’s on Boardwalk for an On Premise Beer and Wine License, American Legion for an On Premise Consumption Renewal, Cajun Depot for an On Premise Beer and Wine Renewal, River Street Tavern for an On Premise Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits Renewal, and Lee’s on River Street for an On Premise Beer, Wine, and Spirits Renewal.

All of these licenses received approvals, but those approvals came contingent upon background checks for each as the City has had trouble receiving the checks due to a change in process. According to City Clerk Sharon Nelson, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation recently informed the Council non-criminal checks now have to be done through a third party.

One other subject on alcohol came through the Council’s meeting as they are once again considering an ordinance to allow alcohol on the Downtown Boardwalk. This time, the ordinance would allow for a specific section of the Boardwalk to be an allowable zone for those drinking at the local restaurant.

Ellijay City Chief of Police Edward Lacey was asked his opinion on the possibility in the meeting. He replied as long as clear signs marked the area, it would be enforceable by officers.

The discussion came up to gauge the council’s interest before spending money on the City Attorney to draw up another legal wording document for the council. The First Reader on this specific “Zone of the Boardwalk” will appear before the Council in December’s Meeting.

Two final actions taken by the council at Monday’s meeting appointed new members to two boards.

The Council returned Lex Rainey to the Gilmer County Board of Health for a 6 year appointment. Rainey was already on the Board, but was nearing the end of his term. City Mayor Al Hoyle told the Council that the Board of Health requested the City re-appoint Rainey due to his active roles and support he brought to them.

Finally, the City Council also filled a vacancy on the Downtown Development Authority with Judy Wilson. Mayor Hoyle informed the Council Wilson had already been notified and indicated she would be willing to serve on the DDA.

Ellijay City Council passes Alcohol Ordinance -Tables Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance


Ellijay City Council held its workshop, public hearing, and regular meeting Monday night, April 18th.  The room was full and there was a good deal of time for questions and comments to the Council.

Once citizen input time was closed the meeting moved along quickly.  A zoning change at 7661 Hwy 515 North, (Sturgeons Amphitheater) was granted for 2 acres to be rezoned Residential from Commercial.  A paving bid decision was made.  The Council moved and passed the Alcohol Ordinance however the Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance was tabled for further review by the Council.  There was a first reading for a Technology Surcharge Ordinance and a decision made on their bank account.

Mayor Hoyle repeatedly expressed to the crowded room to come and sit down with him at any time, stating he has an “open door policy” and will gladly meet with anyone who has questions or concerns.  See full video below of workshop and meeting:

Ellijay City Council Workshop & Meeting Video

Ellijay City Council Workshop & Meeting April 18th 2016 – Video


Ellijay City Council Meeting March 21st 2016 Video


GMFTO 10/27/15 Gilmer


BKP delivers a report on the forum for Ellijay City Council and Mayoral Candidates put on by the Gilmer County Republican Party.


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