Blue Ridge

After weeks of city and state mandated closures for the COVID-19 pandemic, things are gradually starting to reopen around the state of Georgia.

Dirt Road to Three Sisters Vineyards in the Georgia Mountains
Dirt Road to Three Sisters Vineyards in the Georgia Mountains

The governor has relaxed some restrictions while extending others. Key dates and guidelines for the state of Georgia include:

  • Shelter in place requirement for elderly and medically fragile is set to expire on June 12, 2020
  • Georgia’s public health state of emergency is set to expire on June 12, 2020
  • Georgia’s judicial emergency is in effect through June 12, 2020

Some businesses are still under statewide order to remain closed, while others are open with new safety restrictions:

  • Currently allowed to open with restrictions
    • “Critical infrastructure” businesses
    • “Non-critical infrastructure” businesses
  • To remain closed through May 31, 2020
    • Bars, nightclubs, amusement parks, theaters, and live performance venues

Note that just because the governor has eased guidelines for the state, that some municipalities may have their own safety restrictions and local ordinances in effect.

Georgia Business Guidelines to Reopen After COVID-19 Shutdown
Georgia Business Guidelines to Reopen After COVID-19 Shutdown

For more resources about Georgia’s statewide COVID-19 guidelines and updates, check the Georgia Department of Public Health.

 

Georgia Mountain Parks & Public Areas

The weather is warm and schools are finishing for the year, so people are looking for which parks are open. Please note that although your favorite park may be currently open, there are smaller limits to the maximum number of people allowed to use the park at this time. Parks will stop allowing guests to enter once the park maximum capacity is reached.

 

Georgia State Parks

The state parks in Georgia are OPEN, although social distancing is required, large groups are not permitted, and parks will be closed if they get too crowded. The state still recommends that most people stay local and stay home.

North Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Map
North Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Map

Please choose to explore lesser-known or close-to-home parks and historic sites during this time. Visiting the most well-known state parks is not currently recommended due to the likelihood of larger crowds. Also note that although the state parks are open, the parks have capacity caps in place and state parks will temporarily close to maintain a maximum capacity at their set limit. 

It is recommended to check the Facebook pages of these individual North Georgia parks to see their most current status.

 

Georgia Mountains County Parks and Resources

There are a lot of county parks and each locality may have it’s own local rules. Here are county by county resources to help find specific details for different areas.

 

Other Parks & Public Areas

Most federally operated lands in North Georgia are currently closed including the US Forest Service and National Park Service sites.

 

Georgia Mountain Business & Attractions

The unique and amazing small businesses in the North Georgia mountains are starting to reopen with adjusted offerings for increased customer and employee safety.

 

North Georgia Vineyards

Each Georgia mountain vineyard will have it’s own policy and timeline for safely reopening. Please contact each vineyard directly if you have any questions about visiting. Here is a partial list of current policies across the Georgia mountain vineyards.

For more information, visit the Vineyards & Wineries in the Georgia Mountains page.

Paradise Hills Resort in Blairsville

  • Cabin Rentals: reopens Friday May 1st (with no-contact check ins and outs)
  • Tasting Room: reopens Friday May 8th (staff will be limiting direct contact with guests and encouraging social distancing)
  • Spa: reopens Friday May 15th (access to the lounge and sauna during the month of May will be restricted)
    • Mother’s Day Special: Buy 2 Spa gift cards and get a 3rd of equal value free (max $50.00) – must use before 12/31/2020 – call (877) 745-7483
  • Live Music: returns May 30th on weekends from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Frogtown Cellars in Dahlonega

Frogtown Cellars Bistro Restaurant Reservations from OpenTable
Frogtown Cellars Bistro Restaurant Reservations from OpenTable.com
  • Wine bottle sales (pick up in the tasting room), wine tasting flights (3 x 2oz pours), and restaurant are now open
  • Reservations suggested via OpenTable
  • Note that there are no wine tastings currently offered (poured flights at table only)
    • Thursday – Saturday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Stonewall Creek Vineyards in Tiger

  • Patio: reopens Friday May 1st
    • Wine bottle sales: enjoy your purchased bottles of wine on the patio (plus you may bring your own food)
    • Wine tastings, wine by the glass, and food service
  • May also purchase wines for:
    • Curbside pick up (5% discount if you call ahead with your order to 706-212-0584)
    • $10 flat rate shipping for online orders during May 2020

Serenberry Vineyards & Winery in Blue Ridge

  • Wine bottle sales available Thursday – Sunday for pickup from the Tasting Barn (or order anytime online!)
    • 5% discount on 6 bottles
    • 10% discount on 12 bottles
  • Purchased bottles may be enjoyed at the wide open vineyard space with proper physical distancing
  • Wine tasting flights / wines by the glass are not currently available

Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega

Wolf Mountain Vineyards Restaurant Reservations from OpenTable
Wolf Mountain Vineyards Restaurant Reservations from OpenTable
  • Café lunch (reservations required): normal hours (12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Thursday – Sunday
  • Tastings and wine by the glass/bottle:
    • Thursday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Limited reservations as seating is now spaced farther apart – additional seating areas now available in the wedding pavilion for incredible views!
  • Buffet service postponed until further notice

 

Animals & Zoos

North Georgia Zoo is gradually adding hours and services that can accommodate safe distancing for visitors. Visit the “Drive Through Zoo” to see the zoo for FREE (donations accepted and go to help feed and care for the animals) or book a scheduled class of Yoga with a Kangaroo and Friends.

North Georgia Zoo Drive Through Zoo 2020
North Georgia Zoo Drive Through Zoo 2020

You can also directly financially support the animals via North Georgia Zoo’s COVID-19 crisis relief GoFundMe page.

 

Other Georgia Services

Many different types of services across the state have been affected by the shutdown, and as not quite everything is open yet, it’s best to call to confirm your destination is open before making unnecessary trips.

 

Georgia Courts

Even though Governor Kemp has lifted many of the COVID-19 restrictions, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia has extended a statewide judicial emergency for the second time, and the statewide judicial emergency is now in effect through June 12 (the same date that the governor’s shelter-in-place recommendation for medically fragile people expires). This means that:

  • Suspension of all criminal and civil jury trials through June 12
  • Bars courts from summoning and impaneling new trial and grand juries

These suspensions were deemed necessary to enforce the recommended social distancing to protect the health of large groups of people who are typically assembled in response to jury summonses. Chief Justice Melton said he extended the state judicial emergency because, “The courts are different from most private establishments and public places in that we compel people to attend court proceedings, and that requires us to be extra cautious.”

Corales Woody Law Firm Georgia Mountains
Corales Woody Law Firm Georgia Mountains

If you have legal questions or require legal assistance, call the Corales & Woody law firm at (678) 961-3999 for a free consultation.

 

Georgia Voting

Georgia residents should note that the current deadline is October 5, 2020 to register to vote in the presidential and general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. It’s a quick process that can be completed online using the form below from vote.org.

Georgia residents may click here to check their registration status, their polling location, print a sample ballot, and register online (or use the easy form below to register).

 

***

For the latest statistics and information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia, visit the website for Georgia Department of Public Health.

 

View of Blue Ridge Mountains from Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega, GA

While the Georgia mountains are an amazing place to relax and enjoy nature, many of these outdoor areas are being temporarily closed in an effort to reduce congregations of people and slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. As conditions seem to be changing daily, it’s best to check the most direct source for […]

Continue Reading

Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad in Blue Ridge GA

One of the most popular attractions in the Georgia Mountains is a scenic train ride through the Appalachians on the restored Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. These scenic train rides travel along the Toccoa River on the old Marietta and North Georgia Railroad tracks. The train tours take travelers from the heart of downtown Blue Ridge […]

Continue Reading

Serenberry Vineyards

 450 Tipton Trail, Morganton, GA (Blue Ridge area) Nestled down a one-lane gravel road outside of Blue Ridge, GA, is the charming and friendly Serenberry Vineyards. They currently offer seven to eight wines – ranging from sweet to dry. The vineyards were planted on family land in 2010 and the Wine Tasting Barn was opened […]

Continue Reading