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City of Savannah easing event permit restrictions

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 4:27 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A moratorium on permitted, large-scale events in Savannah’s public spaces now extends through next month.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said the decision was reached after meeting with a medical advisory team and city staff last Friday. This announcement comes on the heels of the cancellation of this years Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K.

Mayor Johnson says city staff and the health advisory team will meet again in mid-October to take a close look at the COVID-19 transmission rate, and if numbers aren’t where they’d like them to be, that could very well put November’s permitted events in question.

“If it’s not working in October, then we know what we have to do to November, then we pull back on November. We’ve got several big events, and again, if the numbers are not there, then our position is we won’t have them,” said Mayor Johnson.

Mayor Johnson gave the example of the Rock N Roll Marathon as a big November event they’re keeping an eye on.

“Again, we’re keeping our eyes open on that. We know this is a big event for our community, but I think we prioritize safety. If it’s not safe to do it, then we will not do it.”

Mayor Johnson says at this point, the City is trying to balance the need to keep people safe with the need to keep the economy going.

The Mayor also says the City is walking back permitting restrictions and granting permits for events with five hundred people or less in outdoor, public spaces if they have safety measures in place.

“I think you have to have appropriate masking guidelines, social distancing guidelines. I think you have to put a plan together that A, not only makes sense but that can be enforced. Because we’re going to hold someone accountable for that.”

The Mayor acknowledged that while new COVID case numbers and transmission is trending in a downward direction right now, there’s still a long way to go before event permitting restrictions will be pulled back altogether.

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