On Tuesday, Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, signed an emergency order requiring the public to wear masks or face coverings within the City of Savannah.
“Frankly and honestly, I do not believe we have another choice,” Mayor Johnson said. “Our seven day rolling average (of new cases) is 43, which is a new record, and our 14-day rolling average is 33, which is a new record. The numbers speak for themselves. These are not the records Savannah wants or needs to break.
According to the order:
All persons entering a commercial establishment in the City must wear a face covering or mask while inside the establishment. This does not apply to religious establishments. However, face coverings are highly recommended during religious activity.
All restaurants, retail stores, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies in the City must require their employees to wear a face covering at all times while having face-to-face interaction with the public.
Any person who is unable to safely wear a 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.
Face coverings are not required in the following circumstances:
In personal vehicles; when a person is alone in enclosed spaces or only with other household members; during outdoor physical activity, provided the active person maintains a minimum of 6 feet from other people with whom they do not cohabitate at all times; while drinking, eating, or smoking; when wearing a face covering causes or aggravates a health condition; when wearing a face covering would prevent the receipt of personal services; and when a person is 10 years of age or younger.
A person who fails to comply with Paragraph 1 of this Order shall be guilty of a civil infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00 pursuant to Section 3-3015 of the City Code.
“The point of this order is not to be punitive,” Mayor Johnson said. “If we see someone without a face covering, the first thing we will do is offer them one. If that person refuses the face covering, that’s a different issue entirely.”
The order goes into effect Wednesday, July 1, at 8 a.m. and will remain in effect until further notice.