The city of Canton declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon, including a shelter in place order.

The City Council approved the move in an emergency teleconference meeting convened at 1 p.m.

“The citizens have overwhelmingly asked the Council to look out for their interests during this pandemic,” Mayor Bill Grant said in a statement. “This declaration and shelter in place order looks out for those residents and encourages all citizens to stay at home unless they have to get out for essential needs.”

The declaration cites information received by the City Council that local emergency medical personnel are treating people with COVID-19 and are short of protective supplies as one of the considerations in approving the new steps.

Northside Hospital Cherokee on Wednesday introduced drastically reduced visitation because of coronavirus. A hospital spokeswoman declined to disclose how many people with the disease are being treated there.

A copy of the emergency declaration and shelter in place order is available here.

City officials accompanied the announcement with details in question and answer format sent to city residents that includes:

What does a Shelter in Place Order Do?

The shelter-in-place order means everyone should remain in their homes except when traveling to locations outlined in the Declaration. People can travel to work, or the grocery store, to exercise or to an essential business.

Is the City of Canton under a curfew?


Do I need a pass or some form of permission to go to work, operate my essential business, or do what is allowed in the declaration?


Can restaurants stay open?

Restaurants are allowed to stay open provided that they are offering take out or delivery services, though dining inside restaurants or at outdoor patio areas of that property is strictly prohibited.

Can I leave my home to care for a relative in a different household?

Yes, you may travel from your home to the household of another family member to assist in their healthcare.

What are essential businesses?

The list of essential businesses is located here under section 10. The list includes health care providers, pharmacies, stores that sell food, restaurants, gas stations and others.

May I go out and exercise?

The City of Canton parks and trails are open for public use and may be used for exercise as long as guests follow CDC guidelines on social distancing and spacing of at least six feet. City of Canton playgrounds, ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and athletic fields are closed. Any activity of more than 10 people is in violation of the Executive Order of the Governor.

How can I pay my utility bill, citation or business license renewal?

Utility Customers for the City of Canton (water, wastewater, stormwater and sanitation), individuals that need to pay a citation through Municipal Court, or need to pay a business license renewal may pay bills online HERE. The City of Canton is waiving penalties and late fees on utility payments and is not performing disconnects through April 30. If you need an extension on a business license renewal, please email

What if I have additional questions?

If you still have questions, please email the City Manager at

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