Savannah mayor asks city attorney to investigate legal rights of enforcing use of masks

Savannah mayor asks city attorney to investigate legal rights of enforcing use of masks

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - During this week’s COVID-19 response update, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson expressed again his concern and frustration with the lack of social distancing and people wearing masks.

The mayor is now looking at what options Savannah might have in requiring citizens to wear masks, even though that’s not a requirement from the governor.

Mayor Johnson pointed out that right now, even though Chatham County is the fifth most populated county in the state, it has one of the lowest infection rates in Georgia. He says he’d like to keep it that way.

But he’s concerned we won’t if people aren’t still taking the threat of the spread of coronavirus seriously enough.

“People walking around, no mask, no social distancing. Folks, this is unacceptable,” Mayor Johnson said.

Mayor Johnson said at this point, he’s asking the city attorney to investigate the city’s legal options in requiring the wearing of masks or cloth face coverings in the public space.

“I’m just looking at options at this point. Not saying that even if we could, that we would. But if we cannot do it through influence and begging, maybe there might be ways we could do it legislatively,” he said.

#Watch: Savannah Mayor Van Johnson gives his weekly COVID-19 update.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mayor Johnson added he does believe there are some instances where masks aren’t necessarily needed.

“I think if you’re walking down the street by yourself it’s fine. My issue is, is that people are walking and passing and conversing and nobody has a mask on. That’s an issue for me,” Mayor Johnson said.

The mayor said he’ll wait until the city attorney brings back his findings before taking any next steps.

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