Savannah Mayor Orders Residents To Stay Home

Mar 24, 2020

An enhanced emergency declaration signed by Savannah Mayor Van Johnson Tuesday orders the closing of all nonessential businesses and orders city residents to stay home in an enhanced emergency declaration.

The order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24.

The mayor delayed implementing this order out of deference to Gov. Brian Kemp, who announced new emergency measures Monday evening, Johnson said in a news conference. Kemp's action, Johnson said, did not go far enough.

"We would love to have some state mandates because that means everybody's playing by the same rules," Johnson said.

The Savannah order prohibits gatherings beyond a single household and bans travel except for essential activities. Residents may only leave their homes for certain reasons deemed essential, including getting groceries, visiting a health care professional and working at an essential business.

Outdoor activity is also allowed, as long as people follow social distancing guidelines.

"The only way we will get through this is if we get through this together," Johnson said, urging Savannah residents to comply with the new order.

Essential businesses allowed to stay open include health care, grocery and liquor stores, social services, media, gas stations, banks, hardware stores, safety and sanitation service providers like plumbers, mailing and shipping businesses, educational institutions, laundromats and dry cleaners, private transportation providers and senior and child care services.

Restaurants may also stay open, but only for delivery or takeout. 

The mayor plans to request "greater state oversight and consistency in rules across the state" from Kemp while seeking state guidance on issues like evictions and child care, he added.