City of Savannah to begin hazard pay; distributing meals to homeless camps

City of Savannah drone view
City of Savannah drone view(WTOC)
Updated: Apr. 14, 2020 at 2:03 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Van Johnson has been very vocal in his attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the city.

During a news conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Johnson continued to applaud Savannahians for their hard work in stopping the spread of COVID-19. For the most part, he's seeing less people out and, if they are out, they're wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

The mayor says hazard pay is now in effect for city workers who are required to work outside of their homes during this pandemic. The $2.50 pay raise is in effect now through May 29.

HAPPENING NOW: Savannah Mayor Van Johnson gives his weekly COVID-19 update.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Savannah's interim city manager also spent some time at the podium Tuesday to give an update on how the city is helping its homeless population.

"The city has started working with the homeless authority to distribute MREs, the little packaged meals, to homeless camps. That distribution will begin today. In addition to that the city is working with the trade center authority on meal preparation to provide meals to the homeless camps. We will serve breakfast and lunch, roughly around 400 a day, and the homeless authority will also assist,” Interim City Manager Pat Monahan said.

The City of Savannah says it’s trying to expedite a solution for more permanent housing at these homeless camps.

The city manager says FEMA and the state of Georgia will cover most of the cost for the homeless camp food distribution, bringing a minimal cost to the city.

The mayor also highlighted concerns many residents brought to him after the Savannah Police Department began using drones to enforce social distancing over the weekend.

“I’ve heard people from all over the country saying, ‘we’re being tyrants. We’re being big brother.’ No, we’re operating within the law," Mayor Johnson said. "The law allows us to do that. And the fact of the matter is this, we’re in the middle of a health emergency, a state of order emergency here in our community. We’re going to use whatever methods are at our disposal, that happens to include drones.”

The drone was used in Forsyth Park over the weekend. The police chief says people should expect them in other parts of the city.

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