To wear or not to wear? Mask policies differ in downtown Savannah businesses

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah’s streets look like they did pre-pandemic with crowded shops and most people opting out of a face covering.

The newfound ease comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that fully vaccinated people could forego a mask in most situations.

The City of Savannah’s mask ordinance is still operational until the end of the month. Many restaurants and businesses have differing mask policies.

At boutiques like Terra Cotta, masks are preferred, but not required. Though the entire staff is vaccinated, Assistant Store Manager Lexi LaPoint says all employees are wearing masks.

“I’ve worked through the pandemic this whole time wearing masks, so I’m very comfortable wearing mine,” she told WSAV News 3 on Monday. “And I don’t really care what people say — if they like me wearing a mask or not — but I’m completely comfortable helping out our customers.”

Terra Cotta’s neighbors are still requiring masks for all customers.

Across the street at The Salt Table, there is a policy similar to Terra Cotta’s.

“All of our employees are required to wear a mask while we’re at work and we ask the people coming in if they would put one on and if they don’t, that’s their prerogative,” explained Anne Neely, an employee.

She says most people do choose to wear a mask. But she is comfortable either way.

“We want to make sure we do whatever (Savannah) Mayor Van Johnson asks. And we follow all of his guidelines and so we’re masked up while we’re here,” said Neely who is waiting for a conversation with her doctor to decide if she should get vaccinated.

If the City of Savannah’s ordinance is not renewed, masking guidelines will expire at the end of the month.

Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis rescinded the county’s mask mandate earlier this month, in accordance with CDC guidelines.

It seems it is now up to the consumer on whether to ditch the face covering or to be “better safe than sorry,” in the words of Terra Cotta. But employees there ask that you keep one thing in mind.

“Be gracious to everyone’s opinions and what they need to do to make sure their store keeps running through this,” said LaPoint.

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