SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The city of Savannah is now taking legal action against non-essential businesses that have decided to stay open.
“We’ve been instructed to enforce the mayor’s declaration,” Senior Code Compliance Officer, Scott Brown said.
Savannah’s Code Compliance Department is cracking down on non-essential businesses that remain open even after being ordered to close last week.
“Nobody likes to see us coming either in their normal duties or these duties,” Code Compliance Director, Kevin Milton said.
After a round of checks Wednesday, code compliance officers found that all non-essential businesses have closed but earlier this week it was a different story. The city issued 50 warning notices and since Monday at least 15 court summons for failure to close.
“We’ll approach the business and we’ll ask to speak to a leader, a manager or the owner of the business. We’ll issue the notice or the summons and let them know they’re in violation of the mayor’s declaration,” Milton said.
If a code compliance officer issues a warning and then that business continues to ignore orders that the owner could face a judge.
“One of the business owners that I spoke with he thought that as long as he didn’t have 10 people at his business that he was OK and so there’s been a little bit of confusion,” Brown said.
Even so, if business owners disobey the order it could lead to a $1,000 fine.
“It’s a difficult situation because if they close their business they have to stay closed until April 8 and obviously it’s a loss of revenue,” Brown said.
“Quite frankly most of the businesses are taking it very well. They’re very understanding,” Milton said.