(OCONEE COUNTY, Ga.) — Georgia residents knew they should prepare for the cancellation of flights, the cancellation of schools and the cancellation of work thanks to this week’s snow and ice storm that drove the state to a halt.
What they likely didn’t expect was the cancellation of Valentine’s Day.
In a post late Wednesday on the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, which is updated by Sheriff Scott Berry and Chief Deputy Sheriff Lee Weems, the men of the 32,000-resident county got off the hook.
“The Oconee County County Sheriffs Office announces that Valentines Day has been CANCELLED from a line North of I-16 to the Georgia/Tennessee border. Men who live in the designated ‘NO VALENTINES DAY ZONE’ are exempt from having to run out and buy lottery scratchers and Hershey bars from the corner stores until February 18, 2014, due to ice, snow, freezing rain,” read the post.
The post received more than 800 likes and was shared more than 1,000 times, but it also got the point across to the county’s residents to stay off the icy roads, according to the post’s co-author.
“Last night we were trying to come up with a funny way of expressing the need to stay off the roads and how much of a help that is and the sheriff decided it would be a good idea to cancel Valentine’s Day,” Weems told ABC News. “Our citizens have been very cooperative in staying off the roads.”
The more than 100 comments on the post were mostly humorous, although Weems says one person did call a local news outlet to ask what authority the sheriff had to cancel the romantic holiday.
“Obviously they were taking the statement a little too seriously,” Weems said.
The county, which sits just south of Athens, was hit by more than 5 inches of snow this week, closing public schools and many businesses since Tuesday. At the sheriff’s office, employees have been sleeping on cots and air mattresses to manage the clean-up and emergency efforts.
“We only get something like this every few years, at the most,” Weems said of the storm, the second major snowstorm to hit the South this winter. “The local roads are left to us [to clean] and we just have limited equipment.”
Weems said the sheriff told him he would blame Weems for the Valentine’s cancellation if Berry’s wife complained, but so far they’ve only had one direct reply from a wife, and it was to thank the sheriff’s office.
“We have a jail employee who suffered an aneurysm over the weekend,” Weems said. “His wife saw the post and sent a text message and wanted to thank the sheriff for cancelling Valentine’s Day so they can celebrate the holiday together later.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Jen Christensen, CNN
Jill Disis, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Jacqueline Howard, CNN