WATCH: Mayor Johnson calls on Savannahians to follow science, stay home


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Mayor Van Johnson held a virtual press conference Tuesday morning to address COVID-19 in Savannah after Governor Brian Kemp announced some reopenings in Georgia on Monday.

Johnson was very clear that he disapproves of the governor’s decision to reopen businesses including restaurants, gyms, salons, bowling alleys and more. The mayor said he and Kemp did not discuss the order and have not spoken since the announcement was made.

“I was just as surprised as the rest of the world,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he and the City of Savannah are looking at the science surrounding COVID-19 when making decisions. He also said there are still many unanswered questions when it comes to reopening Savannah, including childcare, unemployment and other issues.

“We are still far from where we need to be,” Johnson said, adding that we are still seeing an increase in coronavirus case numbers across the state.

Johnson also said he fully supports local businesses and Savannah’s tourism industry, but said visitors will not come if locals do not feel safe.

Johnson then called on Savannahians to continue to follow the science and stay home.

“You are the mayors and governors of your own households,” Johnson said.

He asked churches to remain closed and hold services online and asked the community to keep wearing face masks in public. He also asked that Savannahians try to refrain from going to hair and nail salons.

“Persevere just a little while longer,” Johnson said.

The mayor said that Savannah’s recreational and community centers will remain closed and City workers will continue to receive hazard pay or work from home if possible.

Johnson again reminded the public that if social distancing is not followed at City parks, they will be closed.

The mayor also announced a one-time pickup for yard waste next week. City of Savannah residents can put their yard waste out for pickup on Monday, April 27.

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