Savannah mayor issues shelter at home order for city


SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Tuesday morning during a media briefing, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced new updates to the city’s local state of emergency including a “shelter at home” order.

The local state of emergency for Savannah went into effect last Saturday.

Tuesday, Johnson announced additional measures added to the local state of emergency which include:

  • Shelter at home order
  • Nonessential businesses must cease all activities
  • Nonessential travel is prohibited

These new measures go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night and will remain in effect until midnight on Wednesday, April 8.

Under the shelter at home order, Savannah residents must stay at home and only leave for “essential activities.” Below is a list of activities residents may leave their homes for.

  • Purchasing medical supplies, visiting a doctor, dentist, veterinarian, or other health care provider
  • Getting supplies needed to work from home
  • Purchasing needed food and cleaning supplies for their household or delivering items to others
  • Engaging in an outdoor activity such as walking, hiking, or jogging, while maintaining social distancing requirements
  • Traveling to another household to care for a family member or pet

Savannah residents working for “essential infrastructure” including, construction, airport operations, utilities, public transportation, telecommunications and more will be allowed to leave their homes for work. Law enforcement personnel, first responders and others working to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public will remain working as well.

Savannah residents working for “essential businesses” will be allowed to leave their homes and go to work. Included below are new additions and clarifications made Wednesday.

  • Health care operations and essential infrastructure mentioned above
  • Grocery stores, liquor stores, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, and other stores that sell food, pet supplies and other household products
  • Newspapers, television stations and other media services
  • Businesses that provide food and shelter to those in need
  • Gas stations, auto-supply stores and related facilities
  • Banks and related financial institutions
  • Hardware and home supply stores
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other similar services
  • Post offices and UPS stores
  • Educational institutions practicing distance learning
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • Restaurants that serve food can remain open, but only for delivery or carry out services. The sale of packaged beer and wine is allowed.
  • Businesses that provide supplies for those working from home
  • Airlines, taxis and other private transportation providers
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults or children
  • Residential facilities for seniors, adults or children
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services when necessary
  • Childcare facilities may remain open but must have no more than 12 children in a group. Children will not be allowed to change from one group or class to another. Groups of children must be in separate rooms. Childcare providers must stay with their group and not monitor multiple groups.
  • Private construction projects
  • Pawn shops and title pawn shops
  • Businesses that provide landscaping services
  • Businesses that provide moving services

Johnson on Wednesday made the decision to close barbershops, beauty parlors, nail and personal care salons “after receiving regulatory guidance from the state.” These businesses must close Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m.

The mayor also clarified that vape stores are not permitted to stay open under the new order.

“Automobile dealerships can operate their service departments, but they may not operate their sales departments,” he amended.

“Real estate maintenance and rental services and work to execute contracts currently in existence are allowed, but all other real estate work should be performed remotely,” Johnson said.

All nonessential travel is prohibited, per the order. Travel will be allowed only for the following reasons:

  • Traveling to care for a vulnerable person
  • Traveling to schools to get materials for distance learning or to pick up free meals
  • Traveling to return home if a person is not a Savannah resident
  • Traveling required by law enforcement or court order

Savannah residents must continue to practice social distancing when out of their homes for any reason.

Parks and squares will remain open, but swimming pools, playgrounds, basketball courts and tennis courts will be closed.

Johnson said in the Tuesday press conference that early estimates indicate that the City of Savannah is experiencing financial losses of approximately $150,000 a day, nearly $4.5 million a month.

“I know that none of this is easy,” Johnson said. “It is disruptive, it is inconvenient, it is restrictive, it is limiting. But for better or worse, this is our reality.”

The mayor ended the press conference telling Savannahians that they can get through this time.

“Remember that the only way we will get through this, is if we get through it together,” Johnson said. “May God bless you, and may God continue to bless Savannah.”

Watch the full press conference below.

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