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Coronavirus puts kibosh on March events, shutters offices, leaves shelves sparse

Emergency declarations in both Gadsden and Jackson counties have limited public gatherings to 250 and 50, respectively;, and earlier this week, . the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its most restrictive – albeit non-binding – guidelines on public gatherings yet, recommending all events expected to draw 10 or more scheduled within the next eight weeks be cancelled or postponed. 

In response, numerous events of all sizes have been nixed from the March calendar, including – but not limited to – those in the list below. Also included are other outbreak-related changes. 

Just because an event is not listed here does not necessarily mean it hasn’t been canceled. From church services to club meetings, more gatherings than not are suspending activities for the time being. It is highly recommended that potential event-goers contact organizers prior to attending a scheduled meeting or other gathering. s


City of Chattahoochee/Utilities

  • City Hall lobby closed to public; city council meetings conducted via web-based livestream
  • Utility department lobby closed; drive-thru, after-hours dropbox open; bills may also be paid online at or by mail: City of Chattahoochee, P.O. Box 188, Chattahoochee, FL 32324
  • Requests requiring in-person interactions should be directed to (Utility Billing Clerk) or call 850-663-4046. 
  • Additional questions/concerns: (City Clerk)

Updates posted as needed at and on Facebook 


Apalachicola Arsenal Museum

  • Seussville, March Lunch & Learn cancelled
  • For additional questions/concerns, call (850)566-9567 search for “Apalachicola Arsenal Historical Society” on Facebook.


Florida State Hospital

  • Entrance points reduced to the one main drive off U.S. Highway 90


Hospitals, emergency rooms in Gadsden, Jackson counties

  • Access restricted and subject to change; follow signs posted on drives/at entranceways; patient evaluations being conducted via drive-thru in most cases
  • Patient visitation suspended in most cases


Chipola Fine Arts 

  • All remaining Fine Arts productions for Spring 2020 Semester cancelled, including spring ensemble concert (April 7) and Sophomore Cabaret (April 24); Show Choir production “A Disney Celebration” (April 16-19) will be postponed until May 14-17. Auditions for “Disney’s Winnie and the Pooh” slated for Monday, March 16 have been cancelled. The production scheduled for May will be rescheduled during the 20-21 season. Patrons’ tickets will be automatically exchanged for like days.
  • Box Office closed March 23-27 for Spring Break. Phone/mail/electronic transactions requested. 
  • For more information contact Fine Arts Director Evelyn Ward at


Downtown Chattahoochee, Sneads restaurants/bars

  • Most dining establishments – both local and chains – have closed dining rooms but remain open for call-in/pick-up and/or drive-thru orders. There are exceptions, but public health officials are strongly discouraging “indoor dining” at all restaurants
  • By executive order of the governor, all pubs and bars deriving 50 percent or more of income from alcohol sales must suspend service for the time being.


Talquin/West Florida electric co-ops

  • All lobby locations closed; drive-thru service only
  • Additional information/payment options:,, (850) 627-7651;, txt msg (800) 342-7400 or call (855) 699-3322


Havana events

  • Antique Car Show, March 21
  • Havana Shade Tobacco Museum – Havana Nights auction; movie nights; all other special programming
  • Domestic Violence Conference, Citadel of Praise Church of God in Christ – March 21
  • Airstream Rally and related events, March 26-29


Gadsden, Jackson county jails

  • Non-official inmate visitation closed; non-essential inmate movements suspended


Gadsden County Public Library

  • Movie program at Havana branch cancelled on March 23; storytime and playtime are being postponed 
  • Reduced branch hours: Havana, Chattahoochee/Cowen branches: Open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., March 17-21. Closed Saturday
  • Groups/meeting rooms: To protect the health of the local community any group with scheduled meetings at the Gadsden County Public Library System should consider postponing their meetings for a later date. Groups using the Gadsden County Library System rooms are encouraged to tell their attendees to stay at home if they are sick and to encourage Seniors to practice Social Distancing and participate in meetings via phone conferencing, skype, google hangout or other remote meeting tools.
  • Fines waived: Since March 16, all fines and fees are being waived for all library patrons until further notice. “Just bring materials back when you can,” library officials said in a statement.

Local schools, colleges

See separate posts on schools

Wildlife Management Areas, Outdoor Recreation Areas, Lake Seminole

See separate post on sports and outdoors

Retail stores

  • All Walmart locations have changed hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; many Dollar General locations are closing one-hour early; the situation varies by location elsewhere.

COVID-19 anxiety has spurred mass “runs” on staple goods at area retail stores, with ordinarily brimming-over shelves devoid of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, isopropyl alcohol, bottled water and such. Curiously, the scene at big box outlets, dollar stores and local mom-and-pop operations alike is reminiscent of pre-hurricane rushes, though Coronavirus is not expected to interrupt water supplies or inhibit toilet paper distributions. “Precisely,” a spokesperson for the Florida Division of Emergency Management said earlier this week. “Do not hoard water, fill tubs, buy truckloads of toilet paper and such as if this were a hurricane. Stock up on health and hygiene items but don’t panic if your local store is out of hand sanitizer, alcohol, that sort of thing. Proper handwashing is plenty sufficient when combined with other prevention measures like staying at home, avoiding crowds…”

Special to The Herald