June 16, 2020 – As Georgia enters its next phase of re-opening today, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson held his weekly press conference to update the public on key issues in the city, and addressed the latest increase in Chatham County cases and deaths.  He is urging all residents and tourists to wear a mask to insure that COVID-19 cases do not continue to rise.

Bars and restaurants can increase their capacity of inside customers as of this week.  However, the City of Savannah has decided to extend its outdoor dining program until Labor Day, Johnson announced, which allows restaurants to block off the street in front of their establishment to enlarge their outdoor dining capacity.  Johnson added that they city is looking at changes to allow for more furniture placement, as well, to enhance the visual appearance and safety for diners. “It has been very successful,” he stated.

Over 700 Savannah businesses have taken the pledge to follow all recommended COVID-19 cleanliness precautions, which includes employees wearing masks. 

First Responders Now Have Testing Priority

On Monday, Gov. Brian P. Kemp joined the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) to announce that the State of Georgia will begin COVID-19 priority testing for first responders at all specimen points of collection (SPOC) sites across the state.

"As we continue safely reopening our state, it is crucial that we support those who are on the front lines, keeping Georgians healthy and our communities safe," said Governor Kemp. "We are grateful for our first responders' willingness to answer the call of duty in these challenging times, and we are committed to ensuring they have every resource necessary to stay healthy as they continue their important work."

“We’ve been working to ensure that every Georgian has access to testing,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Making sure our first responders have quick access to testing helps keep them healthy as they care for their communities.”

First responders can go to any SPOC, show their official ID and be tested. There is no need to set up an appointment.  A list of SPOC locations can be found at https://dph.georgia.gov/locations/covid-19-testing-site.

“First responders are vital to health and safety of our communities, and we want to support them by ensuring they are able to be tested quickly and efficiently,” said GEMA/HS Director Homer Bryson. “We also want citizens to be secure, knowing that when a firefighter, paramedic, or police officer goes to a call, those responders have been tested for COVID-19.”

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