New COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Ga., eliminating many gathering bans

New COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Ga., eliminating many gathering bans

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Thursday marks the beginning of Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to loosen the COVID-19 restrictions here in Georgia.

The change eliminated the gatherings ban, shelter in place requirements and distancing in businesses. This decision has drawn opinions on both sides.

Governor Kemp says Georgia is open for business and looking at the scene in Downtown Savannah you can tell that is true - a lot of people are taking in the Hostess City.

But the views on the Governor’s decision to rollback restrictions isn’t as clear an answer.

The changes here in the Peach State are drawing mixed reviews. While all have different opinions, those WTOC spoke to say safety is important. That’s what infectious disease Dr. Stephen Thacker at Memorial Health is urging as the governor rolled back COVID-19 restrictions.

“I look at the guidance from the state to some of the cities and county mandates as a rough framework right? It falls down to each, every, each individual on how they want to carry themselves through their community. Whether or not they want to be examples of the practices that slow the spread this virus or they want to be an example of the practices that promote the spread of it,” said Dr. Thacker.

He says we know the key strategies that help contain the virus include wearing a mask, social distancing, and proper hygiene. He encourages people to do this so our city can remain open. Patti says that’s no problem for her. She knows the economy needs this, but doesn’t enjoy seeing the packed Savannah streets.

“I think we should still be a little cautious about this pandemic and I think we should not just go out crazy and open things up cause strongly I feel until we see a significant drop in cases I think we should still be masked, gloves and be very cautious of where we go and stay the distance,” said Savannah resident Patti Depeyster.

Others however say they are vaccinated and enjoying our area, but doing it with COVID safety measures.

“I still do social distancing, I still have my masks with me and I still try to sanitize my hands, wash my hands constantly and do all that. I still do those things because that’s still going to be required because everybody is not vaccinated, everybody is not, COVID is still out there,” said Alesia Greer, Visiting from Jackson, Ga.

A look at the data right now shows we are seeing the seven day rolling average of cases trend down, but Dr. Thacker encourages you to keep a close eye on the numbers as they could change as a result of spring break, holidays and more.

Copyright 2021 WTOC. All rights reserved.