SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Mayor Van Johnson said Tuesday, the fate of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and future large events would be decided by Friday.
Although large events would give a boost to Savannah’s economy, Johnson said he doesn’t want to risk the lives of residents for a short-lived boost if the event cannot provide safety measures for its runners and the community.
“If the data is not there to support it, I’m not there to recommend having a large event that’s going to give us money in the short term and kill our community in the long term,” says Johnson. “It has not happened in the last 20 months and it’s not going to start happening now.”
Although the decline in COVID infections is promising, he still isn’t ready to end the city’s mask mandate.
“This index is still 3.5 times higher than the state-established minimum to end mask mandates,” Johnson said. He said he’s still routinely attending funerals for those whose lives were taken by COVID-19.
“We don’t need to continue having these reminders just how deadly COVID is,” Johnson says. “So, we’re asking people to get the vaccine. If you have questions about the vaccine talk to your health care provider or your pharmacist
After a steep decline in cases throughout September, COVID statistics are slowly leveling in Chatham County.
The latest data from the Coastal Health District says Chatham County’s 7-day average of COVID-19 cases sits at 46. The community transmission index — which accounts for new cases per 100,000 residents — currently sits at 281. The county is reporting under 50 hospitalizations for the first time since July 23.
The Hostess City’s mask mandate remains in effect until Oct. 23 but can be reinstated.
Chatham County reached a COVID milestone recently, raising its fully vaccinated population to 50%. Also, 56% of residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Johnson says his goal is to have at least 52% of the community fully vaccinated to then began rolling back safety measures.
“We have cried and screamed, we have pleaded with folks to go ahead and get vaccinated. And then at some point, we have to let grown folks live with their grown folk choices,” Johnson said.
He wouldn’t comment on vaccine requirements for future events at the Civic Center, instead, saying it wouldn’t be his decision to make.
Watch the full press conference below.