SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – At least eight Savannah businesses are closed after customers or employees tested positive for COVID-19. The health department tells WSAV News 3 they shut down on their own, not because they had to.

The Rail Pub on Congress Street says they made the decision without hesitation after they received reports that several customers had tested positive for the virus.

They say the bar was only open for two weeks after the shutdown when they got the news.

“We want the right message to be given out to the customers that do enjoy coming to the Rail Pub that we do take safety seriously,” said Jon Hendrick, general manager. “We are taking this seriously and we just ask that the customers do their part to take this seriously as well.”

Hendrick says a mandatory mask requirement in public spaces may have prevented the community transmission.

“We decided to shut down again because some of our customers tested positive and we found out,” said Hendrick.

“If customers were wearing masks it may have helped prevent that,” he said.

To ensure every trace of viral infection is gone management hired Germinator Mobile Sanitizing to spray the entire bar with disinfectant.

Franchise owner Scott Odom says the two-step process can keep germs off surfaces for up to three months.

“its an antimicrobial,” said Odom, “that will allow it to be effective for up to 90 days.”

The health department doesn’t require any of these steps when a customer tests positive, but if it’s an employee, they strongly urge the business to notify them.

“If they just have one person possibly, even two that test positive we talk to those people and do a case investigation like we would with anybody else,” said Coastal Health District Director Dr. Lawton Davis. “We find out their close contacts and then we contact the contacts and we work with them and advise them about quarantine.”

Davis says when an employee tests positive and an establishment decides to stay open, they must have a manager on-site at all times.

As for the Rail Pub, Hendrick says they will celebrate its 25th anniversary in July. He says it’s a milestone they’ll hopefully be open for.

“It’s a real, real threat that we may not be open for that huge mark it’s the oldest bar on Congress Street,” said Hendrick, “the oldest running bar on Congress street and it’s locally owned, it’s a local business and we are just trying to make it.”

Hendrick says several employees are being tested and awaiting results. Management is working on an official reopening date.