SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Mayor Van Johnson stood firmly behind the city’s decision to reinstate a mask mandate at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
“The city government will have to take more drastic actions and we will,” Johnson said. The emergency order will expire on Aug. 25 if COVID-19 numbers decline.
Johnson said capacity limits, event cancelations, and business closures could be imposed if infections continue to sharply increase. On July 12, the community transmission index reached a high of 84. Yesterday’s updated number was more than three times higher at 289. The community transmission index indicates the number of newly confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.
The percent positive rate of tests also jumped from 5.7% to 12% in that same time frame.
“Every single one agreed that masks were our best, first step at getting through this,” Johnson said. “Those types of decisions should be made by health professionals and not politicians. Because this is a medical, public health issue, it’s not a political issue.”
Johnson also called on parents to send their children to schools wearing masks. The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System previously said masks would be optional, however, on Tuesday announced it will require students and staff to wear masks in the upcoming school year.
“When it’s raining outside we give our kids umbrellas, to protect themselves from the rain … then I think it’s appropriate for parents to arm their young people with masks.”
Watch the full press conference below.