Published on: Mar. 23, 2020
City and County Emergency Declarations

Over the course of the last week, both Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and Chair of the Chatham County Commission Al Scott declared a state of health emergency in the city and county. The details on how each of these declarations will affect local business are below.

City of Savannah:

On March 19. 2020, Mayor Van R. Johnson, II declared a local state of emergency in the City of Savannah that will take effect on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 8 a.m. This declaration will be in place until April 5, 2020 unless otherwise amended, extended or canceled by the Mayor.
“These are extraordinary times. It is important that we take thoughtful and deliberate measures to protect our citizens, employees and businesses from the large gatherings known to be the breeding ground for COVID-19,” said Mayor Van R. Johnson, II. “While uncomfortable, I believe this is the most responsible course of action.”
Based upon this declaration:
  • All bars and nightclubs that do not serve food will be closed.
  • Restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments must reduce seating capacity by 50 percent for dine-in services. They may also continue to prepare and serve food and drink via delivery, drive-thru and takeout
  • Cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers and similar facilities will not be subject to these restrictions and may continue normal operations.
  • All City of Savannah metered and garage parking will be free for the first hour.
  • All gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades will be closed.
  • All sightseeing, guided and/or narrated tours must stop operations.
  • Funerals with more than 10 mourners are encouraged to conduct graveside services only or to postpone to a future date.
The emergency declaration also allows the City Manager to activate emergency operations plans. City employees will soon begin teleworking remotely from home as directed by the City Manager.

The full declaration can be viewed here.


Chatham County Commission:

The Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott signed a resolution on Sunday, March 22, officially declaring a state of emergency in Chatham County.

The resolution includes the following:

  • All houses of worship shall strive for social distancing and density reduction. They are encouraged to use social media and video outlets to broadcast worship services.
  • To the extent feasible, it is encouraged that citizens not congregate in groups larger than 10 at any location except in an authorized, official government capacity.
  • It is encouraged that all citizens of Chatham County limit all travel outside of Chatham County as much as possible.
  • Any person showing symptoms recognized by the CDC as indicators of COVID-19 shall refrain from entering public buildings, restaurants, shops, public transportation facilities and all other areas where the public ingresses or egresses. Such persons should seek medical attention and follow the directions of their primary care physician until given clearance to return to public interaction.

For more information on this declaration, read the full text here.

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