Mayor Johnson calls for respect following election, extends emergency order as local COVID-19 cases rise

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Mayor Van Johnson held his weekly press conference Tuesday morning following a busy election week.

The mayor started by thanking all local candidates and congratulating those who were elected last week. He then urged the public to be kind to one another regarding the results of state and federal elections.

“I’m asking that we remain civil and respectful of each other, regardless of the outcome,” Johnson said.

“We’ve all been on winning sides, we’ve all been on losing sides,” he added. “Please Savannah, let us teach our children how to gracefully win or lose.”

Johnson thanked employees of the Board of Registrars office, employees of the Board of Elections office, and poll workers for their effort last week.

The mayor then shouted out Kamala Harris for making history as the first woman, first Black person, and first Asian American person to become Vice President-elect.

“Here in the year 2020, little girls can look and see that they can become the Vice President of the United States,” Johnson said.

The mayor wrapped up his remarks about the election saying he is excited to see a Savannah native, Rev. Raphael Warnock, in the state’s runoff Senate races. He encouraged anyone still not registered to vote to do so.

Johnson then switched gears to discuss recent COVID-19 trends.

The Chatham County case rate per 100,000 people increased from 8 to 10.9 in the past week, following a week of downward trends. The mayor encouraged the public to keep social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing their hands. He also encouraged everyone to get a flu shot.

“Remember that the week before we were going down slightly now we are back up,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he will be extending the city’s emergency order, adding further clarification on mask wearing, specifically for local tour companies. The new order will be presented on Thursday.

“We are going to hold these companies responsible, particularly some of the walking companies that I see traversing the city,” said Johnson. “I took pictures of one in front of city hall this Saturday, you know we have to get through this together.”

A person can be fined up to 500 dollars for not complying with the city’s mask order and Johnson says he’s planning to step up enforcement

“I want to make sure that its abundantly clear because when the fines are levied I don’t want to hear we didn’t know,” said Johnson.

The mayor wrapped up his prepared remarks going over some city housekeeping.

Tuesday night, the community is invited to give input on the long-awaited Project DeRenne. Learn more here.

Also happening this week, the City of Savannah Office of Sustainability has scheduled virtual meetings to get community input about the city’s 100% renewable energy resolution. Learn how to participate, here.

Wednesday is Veteran’s Day. Due to COVID-19, the city is unable to have its usual celebration. Instead, Johnson is asking the public to pause at 11 a.m. for a two minute moment of silence in honor of veterans.

The city will also be doing a brief Presentation of Colors at 11 a.m. at multiple intersections across town, causing brief traffic delays. The following intersections will be impacted:

  • Bay Street and Bull Street
  • MLK and Liberty Street
  • Victory Drive and Abercorn Street
  • Skidaway Road and La Roche Avenue
  • Montgomery Cross Road and Abercorn Street

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