Savannah Mayor Van Johnson has revoked all permits for public events through Sept. 30 and no new permits will be issued until further notice. The permit ban excludes weddings. Johnson said he asked organizers for the Savannah Jazz Festival and Savannah Philharmonic to consider virtual platforms for their concerts.
The city’s mask mandate was also extended through Sept. 23. Last week Georgia Governor Kemp signed an executive order banning cities from enforcing mask and vaccine mandates in private business. Johnson has been publicly criticizing Kemp over the past week and continued his criticism Tuesday saying “don’t try us, we believe very clearly that we have the standing” to enforce restrictions. He also said the state hasn’t done anything to help Georgia cities battle COVID.
Events at the Savannah Civic Center will also be canceled or rescheduled and community centers and city buildings are closed to the public, Johnson said. He also vowed to step up mask enforcement on trolleys.
Johnson also said vaccine mandates for city employees is possible after the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The other two vaccines have been FDA approved for emergency use.
In hopes of increasing vaccination rates, the mayor said the city, Chatham Area Transit, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and Chatham County are working on a vaccine incentive for employees.