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Event permits canceled through Sept. in Savannah as part of new COVID restrictions

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 9:39 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:25 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced new COVID restrictions in the city during his weekly Tuesday update news conference.

According to the mayor, the mayor’s emergency order has been updated to revoke all permits for events in public space through Sept. 30.

Mayor Johnson added no new permits will be issued for the time being, however permitted weddings will be allowed so long as wedding planners follow social distancing and mask guidelines.

Events scheduled at the Savannah Civic Center from now until next month will also be postponed or canceled.

“These measures are admittedly inconvenient and uncomfortable but are taken again as intermediary steps in lieu of more restrictive steps that have been recommended,” Mayor Johnson said.

The mayor said he has asked Savannah State University to reconsider hosting its homecoming parade in October. He has also asked the Savannah Jazz Festival and Savannah Philharmonic to begin holding concerts virtually.

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One of the events affected for the second year in a row by pandemic-related restrictions is the Savannah Jazz Festival. In its 40th year, it was supposed to happen September 23-26 at Forsyth Park.

The festival’s Interim Executive Director, Paula Fogarty, said the show will go on and be live streamed from Savannah Station.

The Savannah Philharmonic’s “Phil the Park” event - formerly known as Picnic in the Park - is another major upcoming music event that could look different this year. Organizers say it won’t be canceled, but that they’re finalizing their contingency plan and will announce their decision on how the event will happen next week, as well as if and when they decide to change it.

Organizers add it will not be virtual only.

“The city will offer whatever assistance we can to ensure that these events can be executed in a virtual or hybrid format,” Mayor Johnson said.

Mayor Johnson says future steps could include reducing operating hours of bars and clubs if the new revisions don’t significantly decrease community spread of the virus.

The mayor says City staff will determine the fate of permitted events scheduled for October and November in mid-September.

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