CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Late Wednesday afternoon, Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott lifted the now 5-day-old curfew that has kept people off the streets from dusk until dawn, then later from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The Emergency Declaration will remain in effect in Georgia through Saturday morning. However, Scott believes most evacuees are now back in the homes and better than 90 percent of the power will be restored in the county by 10 p.m.
No one is happier about the lifting of the curfew than local business owners.
The Downtown Business Association, Visit Savannah and the Tourism Leadership Council were losing patience with the county for not removing the curfew earlier.
The three days since the storm passed have been tough for local businesses and their customers.
"We serve food until midnight. That's where we get most of our business is from ten to midnight and even after that. And so again, I still don't know why. I hear there's a curfew but I don't know why there's a curfew," said Trey Wilder, Treylor Park.
"I've been out here two days since the hurricane came and I've had about four rides so far," said Ryan Daugherty, with Savannah Pedicab.
That curfew costs local shops and restaurants millions in lost business and costs the City of Savannah hundreds of thousands in tax revenue.
Since Monday, the local hotels have been filling up again, the squares are filled with locals and tourists and attractions like the trolleys have been running.
Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach defended the chairman's decision saying that he too, took some pretty nasty calls from downtown business owners who wanted that curfew lifted sooner.
"Everybody has got their own job to do. I understand. We all lost money in this process. There's not anybody that come out of here unscathed. All I can tell them is we did what we all felt was the right thing and the Chairman is the guy in charge on that call," said Mayor DeLoach.
Better than 90 percent of the power across Chatham County has been restored. And the police chief felt the city was secure enough to allow people out late at night once again. These were two of the conditions established by Chairman Scott before lifting the curfew.
The mayor told WTOC Wednesday night he also received a number of calls from business owners angry with the decision to keep the curfew going so long.