SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Hostess City still in the green, as visitors make their way back home from a weekend full of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. City leaders say they anticipated many “out of towners” to disregard the city’s COVID-19 guidelines, but were prepared to handle any problems.

“Many were not aware that we had a mask mandate, or thought they were exempt because they got the vaccine. I think the city staff acted admirably and I was out there both nights with city staff advising people to wear a mask,” says Savannah mayor Van Johnson.

The influx of people led to an influx in business, which the city desperately needed. Johnson says over 700 businesses signed the Savannah Safe Pledge, ensuring full safety and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines while operating.

“This is a wonderful opportunity and partnership between the city of Savannah and our business community to remind us we are still in the middle of a pandemic and the way we get beyond the pandemic is for us to act responsibly and for us to act united against COVID-19,” he adds.

He says overall, the city and it’s businesses kept safety a top priority.

“They complied with the status they pledged and that was evident. I visited some of these business and some businesses didn’t do so well. We will have to have those conversations about that at a later time.”

As the summer months draw closer and tourism picks up, Johnson says it’s the science that has and will continue to determine when guidelines can be relaxed.

“Any relaxation or repealing of the mask mandate will also be dictated by quantifiable numbers that indicate that our situation of community spread has improved and the public threat of coronavirus has diminished significantly.”