SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah city leaders are preparing for the busy holiday weekend and the visitors it usually brings into the city.
Alderman Kurtis Purtee said the city’s been proactively anticipating Memorial Day crowds by increasing the number of patrol officers on duty and working with local restaurants to ensure social distancing measures are being followed.
“I advocate for folks to be outdoors doing things just not in large crowds, It’s great to go to the beach, it’s great to go for a walk, or go for a bicycle ride, go to the park, but we don’t want big crowds like we saw on Tybee with over twenty-five thousand people on the beach. That’s not social distancing.”
Savannah City Council members said they anticipate crowds, but are hoping they can mitigate congregating with precautionary measures like their “Savannah Safe Pledge” which commits local businesses to following CDC guidelines, and by increasing the number of officers patrolling public spaces. Officials are monitoring places like Forsyth Park, where the city’s Greenscapes Division will be painting circles on the pavement to encourage distancing. Restaurants will also be allowed to temporarily mark six feet markers on the sidewalks outside of their establishments.
“Having code enforcement and police out there we are going to be able to enforce this stuff and take a proactive approach before it gets out of hand so you know I don’t want to say we’re going to go and start shutting places down left and right but if it became a public health issue and public safety issue then by all means we’ll have to do what we have to do,” Purtee stated.
Purtee said local businesses have been “graciously” complying with the city’s safety guidelines—stating a concern for visitors heading into Savannah for the long weekend.
“I’m actually quite happy with how our local folks and our local businesses have partnered and our city staff, everybody’s partnered together. I will tell you that I think during the holiday weekend, you’re going to see probably a lot of out of towners, but a lot of our local folks are taking this seriously,” Purtee said.
The District 6 Alderman said he wants to honor the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms, but added he believes it should be done in a safe way.