March 19, 2020
For Immediate Release
Mayor declares local state of emergency
SAVANNAH, GA (March 19, 2020) — Today, Mayor Van R. Johnson, II declared a local state of emergency in the City of Savannah that will take effect on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 8 a.m. This declaration will be in place until April 5, 2020 unless otherwise amended, extended or canceled by the Mayor.
“These are extraordinary times. It is important that we take thoughtful and deliberate measures to protect our citizens, employees and businesses from the large gatherings known to be the breeding ground for COVID-19,” said Mayor Van R. Johnson, II. “While uncomfortable, I believe this is the most responsible course of action.”
Based upon this declaration, all bars and nightclubs that do not serve food will be closed. Restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments must reduce seating capacity by 50 percent for dine-in services. They may also continue to prepare and serve food and drink via delivery, drive-thru and takeout. Cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers and similar facilities will not be subject to these restrictions and may continue normal operations.
All City of Savannah metered and garage parking will be free for the first hour.
All gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades will be closed. All sightseeing, guided and/or narrated tours must stop operations.
Funerals with more than 10 mourners are encouraged to conduct graveside services only or to postpone to a future date.
The emergency declaration also allows the City Manager to activate emergency operations plans. City employees will soon begin teleworking remotely from home as directed by the City Manager.
Mayor Van R. Johnson, II will be available to answer questions from members of the media at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 20, at City Hall.