July 26, 2021 – Mayor Johnson signs emergency order requiring face coverings in the City of Savannah

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.

Members of Savannah’s public health and medical community joined the Mayor for the announcement, including:

  • Dr. Lawton Davis, Coastal Health District 
  • Dr. Julia Mikell, St. Joseph’s/Candler
  • Dr. Stephen Thacker, Memorial Health
  • Dr. Carolyn Eiland, Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care
  • Dr. Rena Douse, J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center
  • Dr. Ericka Russell-Petty, PEds Health

“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,” Mayor 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: 

  • 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,” Mayor 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.”

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. on July 26, 2021, and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2021.

We ask you to take these precautions for the well-being of yourself, your fellow travelers and for the employees of Savannah’s Waterfront businesses who are here to welcome you:

  • Frequently wash and sanitize hands
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue or sleeve
  • Use face coverings while in public – Savannah has a mandatory mask ordinance
  • Comply with the CDC’s Social Distancing Guidelines of staying at least 6 feet apart from others
  • Abide by orders and directives issued by governmental and public health officials
  • Stay at home if you develop symptoms