Tuesday, March 17, 2020

'Stay home,' Mayor advises; NO mandatory City restrictions at this time

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 10:11 AM

Mayor Van Johnson this Tuesday morning said that there will be no mandatory restrictions or curfews in place for the time being in response to COVID-19.

"We're asking people to stay home. That's the safest way for our citizens, if at all possible," the Mayor said.

"People have to use common sense. For bars and restaurants, that might mean  look at going to half or a third of your [seating] capacity," he said.


Johnson said that while the Centers for Disease Control have recommended no in-person events larger than 50 people, "the President has advised limiting gatherings of ten people or more. So that leaves us in the middle somewhere."

Johnson advised that local events should follow the CDC guidelines.

"We cannot continue business as usual," he said. "We could be celebrating the Feast of St. Patrick today, but we're not doing that. That gives you an idea of the magnitude of what we face."

For social and religious events, such as weddings and funerals, Johnson said, "we have to look at postponing or something different to avoid bringing people together."


The City is encouraging all small businesses to apply for Small Business Association loans.

"It's reasonable to expect layoffs of staff are on the way which exacerbates the problem we have," Mayor Johnson said.

Lawton Davis, director of the local Health District, said "I fully support" the Mayor's decision and process.

As of this morning 121 cases have been reported in Georgia, with no confirmed cases in Chatham County or contiguous Georgia counties.

"My opinion is this will be longer rather than shorter," Davis said about the duration of the pandemic and associated measures.


Municipal services will continue, with possible measures to limit public access to some City buildings. Savannah City Council meetings are likely to go at least partially remote.

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