Savannah brings back mask mandate amid coronavirus surge

July 26, 2021
1 min read

SAVANNAH — As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads primarily among the unvaccinated, the city of Savannah is responding by requiring masks.

Today, Mayor Van R. Johnson II signed an emergency order requiring face coverings or masks to be worn in the City of Savannah due to increasing COVID-19 cases and transmission.

“Given our current situation and based on the advice of these esteemed medical professionals, I have ordered the reinstatement of Savannah’s mask mandate effective immediately,” Johnson said. “This requires everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors when you’re with people who are not in your immediate household.” 

The order requires people to wear a mask or face covering in the following locations: 

  • City of Savannah government buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Early childhood centers
  • Elementary and secondary institutions
  • Guided tours within a vehicle, including cars, trolleys, buses, bicycles, quadricycles, scooters, low-speed vehicles, boats, carriages and pedicabs
  • Federally regulated transportation 

All restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores and pharmacies in the city are strongly encouraged to require their employees to wear a face covering at all times while having face-to-face interaction with the public. Anyone entering a commercial establishment in the city is strongly advised to wear a face covering or mask while inside.

“I know the question will come – are we effectively punishing those who did the right thing and took the vaccine? And the answer is yes, we probably are,” Johnson said. “The minority is being punished because of the inaction of the majority. We have the ability to determine our own fate, our own destiny, by doing what we can to improve our vaccination rates. As for me, the short and long-term health effects associated with COVID-19 are too high, so I chose vaccination. And I hope you will, too.”

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, Chatham County is averaging 80 new cases of COVID-19 per day, with Monday’s total number of new cases at 65. Chatham County has had 629 new cases in the last two weeks.

Face coverings and masks are not required in the following circumstances: 

  • When a person is alone in an enclosed space, including personal vehicles, or only with other household members
  • During physical activity, provided the active person maintains a minimum of 6 feet from other people with whom they do not cohabitate
  • While drinking, eating or smoking
  • When wearing a face covering or mask causes or aggravates a health condition
  • When wearing a face covering would prevent the receipt of personal services
  • When a person is 10 years of age or younger

Anyone unable to safely wear a mask or face covering due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without the assistance of others is exempt from this order.

The order went into effect at 8 a.m. July 26, 2021, and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2021.

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