March 23 UPDATE: Rabun closings and services

Announcements, Community
public closings

RABUN COUNTY, Ga – Business closings and changes store hours are spreading across the county as new COVID-19 guidelines continue to be released. See the up to date list below.

Updated on March 23

Government and Services

  • Clayton City Council Meeting for March 17 is canceled.
  • The senior center is closed.
  • The library is closed.
  • Recreation Department is closed.
  •  Rabun Detention Center and jail are closed. Video visitation is still available through Combined Public Communications, daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. To learn more go to
  • Mountain Judicial Circuit is only performing essential operations in accordance with a statewide judicial emergency. Georgia Supreme Court has declared a statewide emergency to halt all non-essential court business. 
  • Great Smokey’s National Parks are closed.
  • Tax Commissioner office is closed to the public, still conducting business over phone, mail, and web renewals.
  • Chamber of Commerce lobby is closed.
  • U.S. Census has suspended field operations until April 1.
  • Rabun County Sheriff’s Office app now has an icon dedicated to Coronavirus information.


  • Celebrate Clayton is canceled.
  • Swing into Spring is canceled.
  • Tallulah-Persimmon BBQ is postponed.
  • Community Clean-up Day is canceled.


  • Walmart will be open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. for the foreseeable future in an effort to keep shelves stocked. Tuesdays from 7 to 8 a.m. the store is open to senior citizens.
  • Ingles will close at 9 p.m. and the in-store Starbucks will close at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesdays from 7 to 8 a.m. are open to senior citizens, underlying conditions, and first responders.
  • Iron and Oak has closed the dining room. It is offering curbside service and delivery for a small fee.
  • The Lotus Gallery and Art Center has postponed its group art show.
  • Universal Joint Clayton is offering a curbside and temporary delivery service. Dining room is closed.
  • Of These Mountains is offering curbside pick-up and delivery within 10 miles of store. Online ordering now also has free shipping until May 15.
  • Blue Ridge Activity & Tumbling Center is closed at least from March 16 to 21.
  • Wander North Georgia has eliminated shipping costs, offering curbside pick-up, and will deliver within 15 miles of the store.
  • Market in Downtown Clayton is closed.
  • Manrique’s Mexican Restaurant has closed dining room. Delivery, curbside, and pick-up options are available.
  • Reeves Hardware is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday Diner is carryout, curbside, and delivery from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Clayton Café is offering carry-out and curbside. Dining room is closed.
  • Butler Galleries is closed until March 28 at least.
  • FORTIFY kitchen and bar is offering a “Family Style Menu” available for curbside delivery. Please place your order by 2:00 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Pick up times are between 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. No dine in.
  • Mama G’s closed until Friday for weekend takeout and delivery orders.
  • Main Street Gallery is closed.
  • Lake Rabun hotel is offering curbside and safe space delivery.
  • Rabun County Bank ask customers to schedule lobby appointments. Drive-thru is open.
  • Subway open from 11am until 7pm and will bring food out to car.
  • The Open Door at Alley’s Ol’ Store is taking phone orders and offering curbside delivery.
  • Furry Affair is picking dogs up for appointments from the parking lot.
  • Oconee Federal Savings and Loan asks for customers to make appointments. Drive-thru services are available.
  • Goats on the Roof closed until March 27.
  • The Law office of Tom Slowen has closed lobby to walk-in traffic. Call to make an appointment.
  • United Community Bank will be an appointment-only service model effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
  • The White Birch Inn is closed for the next month.
  • The Soda Fountain is offering curbside, to-go, and online orders.
  • 12 Spies Vineyards and Farms has closed its tasting room and offering free shipping.

If you know of any closings or service changes that you would like added to this list, please email [email protected].

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-Football is coming

Sports, TeamFYNSports

We’ve been talking about it all summer. I’ve covered more camps than I can count. Young athletes have been out as early as January lifting and preparing for it. Finally on Wednesday I felt it.

Football season is coming.

Wednesday morning bright and early found me on the football field of Fannin County High School covering the last day of their youth football camp. Now as I said a few sentences earlier I’ve been out all summer covering football camps, but this was the first time it really clicked with me that we are only a few weeks away. And I won’t lie, a lot of it had to do with the weather.

Being at the Fannin County youth camp on Wednesday in some cooler air made me realize just how close we are to football season!

There was a slight breeze and I dare to say chill on Wednesday that I hadn’t felt all summer. Granted it was early in the morning and I’m so used to summer heat that even the slightest temperature drop can make me reach for my jacket. But this time, surrounded by young athletes who are the future of their program, it all started to set in.

It’s hard to imagine Friday Night Lights when it’s 90 degrees in Georgia in the middle of July. When I think of football I think of all the late Friday afternoons when I was in high school and the trees were ablaze with the bright orange and reds of fall. I think of the UGA games I’ve gone to where it’s been so cold part of the reason I was standing was not so much to cheer than to try and keep warm.

I will admit, football season has kind of snuck up on me this year. Earlier in the summer, Team FYN Sports was in baseball mode covering the local youth tournaments. I was in baseball mode keeping up with the Braves. But this is the South, and not just the South but SEC stronghold too. So of course even though baseball comes to the forefront, football stays simmering on the back burner at all times. That’s another reason why when I felt that cooler air on Wednesday, I was so easily able to slip back into football mode.

Local high schools start back as early as the week after next, with scrimmages coming the week after and then regular season the week after that. It’s crazy to think how time flies, and for teams that have been out practicing all summer, they realize that this is where the rubber meets the road.

I remember the first story I did for Team FYN Sports involving football was earlier this summer when Dawson County scrimmaged Pickens in a spring game. It took me a moment to realize when I got to the Dawson County field to realize that were weren’t in August, and this being in May we still had another three full months to go. But you couldn’t have told that to either of the two sides that night.

The mommas of the Dawson County Tigers formed a tunnel for the players to run through at their spring game like it was a regular season game.

The Dawson County mommas circled up for pre-game prayer, and lined up to form a tunnel for their sons to run through onto the field. Both home and away stands had a decent amount of fans to fill them. Both schools even brought their marching bands, and Pickens brought their cheerleaders. This energy is what I try to convey to everyone when I say that sports, and especially football, create a community rivaled by few other events.

Each time I’ve gone to a camp, or scrimmage, or even just a practice in this community, I’ve seldom been the only one there who is not a part of the team. Parents will come by to see their sons, or even just community members will drop by to get a look at the team before they run out for the first game. There’s something else special about following a team from the ground up, a season from the beginning to end. I know I’m not the only one that feels that way, and it makes my job all the much more enjoyable.

Over the last couple of weeks BKP and I have been going around North Georgia and interviewing coaches from all of the teams we cover. While last week I focused on the coaches and all of the effort that they have been putting in, it’s no overstatement to say that these players have been putting in their fair share too.

And they all seem ready. They’ve all been lifting and getting stronger since the beginning of the year. They’ve been out running drills and working for positions since the weather was warm enough. Now they’re breaking out the pads, helmets and fine tuning plays until it’s time for that first kick-off.

Football season is coming, and from the locker room to the press box, I think we’re all ready.

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter- Thank a coach!

Sports, TeamFYNSports

Over the last week and a half BKP and I have been going from school to school interviewing head football coaches for our North Georgia Coaching Series. Now if any of y’all know BKP, you’ll know what I mean when I say that he’s been doing most of the talking and I’ve been doing most of the observing. But this doesn’t bother me, it gives me a chance to learn more about the programs I’ll be spending a lot of time with this fall.

With that being said, there’s one thing in particular I’ve been noticing in our interviews, and that’s how much these coaches truly care about their players and their programs.

Now me saying that might make some of y’all think, “Well, duh. That’s what they’re supposed to do.” Well, maybe. But I like to think I’m pretty good at picking up when someone is just putting on an act for appearances. And I can say with all sincerity that none of these coaches are doing that.

Obviously when BKP and I go into these interviews, he asks questions about what the teams have been doing during the summer and how they’re planning to prepare for the regular season. But he also asks the coaches if they can highlight a few players that have really stood out. This point in the interview, I believe, is where a coach who didn’t care would possibly just say a couple names and move on.

But these coaches not only name the players, they tell us about why they stand out. And it’s a sign of the hard work of these athletes, but there’s also a sense of pride from these coaches as they name them. A couple of coaches have mentioned that it’s hard to name just a few, because all of their players have worked hard. And it’s not that the rest of the team doesn’t matter or that they don’t care about them, but the ones that they mention they do so without hesitation because they’ve been there with them through the summer truly coaching them. There’s no so-so about the commitment these coaches make- they’re all in.

Another thing that has amazed me about these coaches, not just in the interviews but learning about them off the field, is how much they care about their community as well. A couple of them, such as Chad Cheatham at Fannin County and Chad McClure at Hayesville, are natives to their communities. It’s home to them, and they’re not going to be just halfway in their commitments to their programs.

When Coach Caleb Sorrells of the Lumpkin County Indians was first named as head coach, the school hosted a meet and greet for him. It was one of the first stories I covered in this position.

In his address to the parents, Sorrells promised to not only invest in the team as players and athletes, but as men who would one day be employees and fathers. I remember being caught off guard at first because I was expecting him to talk about plans for the future of the program, the summer schedule and what not. He did talk about these things, but I believe by telling the parents that he was going to invest in the players as men showed that it was going to be a priority.

Although I know more about the commitment that Sorrells has made because I’m positioned in Lumpkin County, he’s not the only one in the area who gets involved in the community and works to build up the athletes’ character.

Tim Cokely with the White County Warriors has an entire wall of his office decorated with signs of good character qualities to instill in the team. Chad Cheatham, who I mentioned earlier, referees basketball in the football off-season just because, and the community loves him for it. I’m sure that many of the other coaches in the area do similar things and I just don’t know about it yet.

These are commitments that we see played out by coaches in movies and don’t always think to look for in real life. And because I grew up in Gwinnett County, population one million, if there was this sort of commitment by coaches I didn’t always see it because there were so many people. I love living up here in North Georgia in a smaller community where an act of kindness, especially where sports are concerned, rarely goes unnoticed.

We think about football as a sport that instills a since of discipline, but why is that? Because there’s a coach that sets that standard and inspires the team to do the same. As a community we love football and we love our team, and we can thank a coach for that.

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