SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Chatham County rescinded its mask mandate Friday for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis, the decision aligns with the new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Let me say to all of Chatham County, as you know, we follow the mandates of the CDC and put our mask ordinance in place accordingly,” Ellis said. “Today, we’re going to rewrite that, and we’re going to fall in line with what the CDC has put out. If you are fully vaccinated, you don’t have to do the masks.”
The CDC announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people can resume activities both indoor and outdoor, large or small, without wearing a mask or social distancing.
“We’re gonna ask folks, if you’re not vaccinated, one of the things you can do to help is to get vaccinated. We’re pushing for Chatham County’s vaccination numbers to come up because we’re still a long way off from where we should be and where we need to be,” added Ellis.
Coastal Health District Director Dr. Lawton Davis didn’t see any problems with the county’s mandate but reiterated to citizens to use caution, especially around large gatherings.
“My take on it is that this is excellent news,” Davis said. “I think they’re following the signs, but I still encourage you to use common sense.
“Just because you’re wearing a seatbelt, that doesn’t mean you go out and intentionally have an automobile accident. Don’t intentionally place yourself in place of high risk even if you’re fully vaccinated; use common sense.”
Davis added that in some cases, masks will still be required, even if the county doesn’t enforce them.
“Health care facilities will still require masks, public transportation will still require masks, and again, just use common sense. Even though we’re (Chatham County) 30% vaccinated, that means we’re 70 percent unvaccinated, and you don’t know the status of the people that you’re rubbing elbows with,” said Davis.
Ellis says the county has been following the CDC and World Health Organization’s guidance from the beginning and will continue to do so moving forward.
The city of Savannah has decided to maintain its mask ordinance effective until midnight May 31st.
The Savannah City Council approved the renewal of the city’s mask order Thursday.