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Savannah’s emergency declaration amended, barbers and salons to close

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah’s mayor on Wednesday announced additions to an enhanced emergency declaration ordered the day prior.

Mayor Van Johnson now says barbershops, beauty parlors nail and personal care salons will close on Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m.

His “shelter at home” declaration originally allowed these businesses to remain open if they enforce social distancing.

The initial order came as a shock to some salon owners, like Debbie Mathis, who had already decided to close her doors.

She said there was no way to serve clients while keeping a safe distance.

“I think that someone just needs to step in and say ‘enough.’ I know of people who are working, I know salons that are open and I think it’s irresponsible,” Mathis told News 3 prior to Johnson’s amendment.

Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown was ahead of the curve. Tuesday he took executive action to close all salons and barbershops within his city limits.

“We just figured out that those people have people in their chairs, touching them, feeling their hands whatever,” said Brown. “Those are terrible under the circumstance so its not a city issue this is a health issue.”

In a press briefing earlier Tuesday, Johnson stated that these businesses are regulated by the state so the city has no authority to close them.

Before he amended the order, WSAV News 3 reached out to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. A spokesperson told us that although they oversee licensing and qualifications, the city actually issues those licenses. This gives them the authority to close businesses like salons and barbershops.

Johnson has also clarified Wednesday that pawn shops, title pawn shops, landscaping services and moving services are considered essential businesses and may remain operational under the emergency declaration.

Vape stores are not allowed to stay open, he added.

Automobile dealerships can operate their service departments, but they may not operate their sales departments.

Johnson also added that “real estate maintenance and rental services and work to execute contracts currently in existence are allowed, but all other real estate work should be performed remotely.”

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