Mayor Van Johnson ‘cautiously excited’ for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon amid COVID

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Mayor Van Johnson says he’s ready to once again open the city up for large-scale public events.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon will return to Savannah this weekend, marking the first major public event in the city in nearly two years.

“I’m cautiously excited. I’m excited because it means that we’re getting closer to our new normal, I’m cautious because we’re only at 51% vaccinated,” Johnson said.

“It signals to our city that we have been very cautious, very thorough, very deliberate in our actions and now we’re in a position where we’re moving forward. A little slower than some other folks but we’ve really chosen to deal with the science side of it,” the mayor added.

The race is scheduled to start on Bay Street at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, weaving through the streets of Savannah and ending at historic Forsyth Park.

Additional COVID safety protocols will be in place, including added city representatives to help make sure visitors are following the city’s protocols.

“I think that the race itself has a very stable, very viable plan to keep runners safe,” said Johnson.

“You have to be vaccinated, you have to have a negative test within 72 hours of the race,” he continued. “The concern is always the people who accompany the runners.”

Many local businesses are more than excited to get the race back. Some say they’re looking forward to the added business and are staffing up accordingly.

“I do believe this is one of our big functions that we’re welcoming. A lot of business owners are looking forward to operating at full capacity,” said Debi Christiansen, owner of Debbie’s Restaurant on Bay Street. “I know all the hotels are full and the restaurants should all be full, so it’s gonna be a great thing for the city of Savannah.”

Road closures are expected throughout the city between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., including portions of the Truman Parkway.

Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter will hold a press conference on Friday to further discuss the city’s preparations for the marathon.

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