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Savannah City Council approves resolution to work with Chatham Co. to help vaccinate more employees, approve changes to emergency order

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 11:20 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2021 at 11:24 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah City Council making big moves to prevent more COVID infections and increase vaccination rates.

Changes to the City of Savannah’s emergency order are official.

  • The mayor announced Tuesday the city will revoke all permits for events in public spaces through the end of September.
  • Events scheduled at the Savannah Civic Center from now until the end of next month will also be postponed or cancelled.
  • No new permits will be issued for now, however permitted weddings will be allowed as long as they follow social distancing and masking guidelines.
  • City community centers will also close starting September 3rd.

That’s just one of the items city council passed Thursday night. The city is also looking to increase vaccination rates among city staff.

They passed a resolution to work with public entities in the county to make a vaccine incentive program.

“We need to really sound the alarm that things are dangerous out there. We just have to do all we can from our end to ensure that we keep people safe,” said Mayor Van Johnson.

With changes to the emergency order official, now the city’s trying to increase vaccination rates among their staff and the county’s staff.

Interim City Manager Heath Lloyd will meet with leaders at Chatham Area Transit, Chatham County Commission and Savannah Chatham County Public School System leaders to put together a plan to vaccinate more city and county employees.

“We’re not working in silos anymore. It’s very important that this wheel that we are trying to maintain, all of the missing parts are going in the same direction,” said District 3 Alderwoman Linda Wilder Bryan.

The mayor says less than 50 percent of city employees are vaccinated. The city fears they may even have to shutdown if positive cases among staff increase.

The interim city manager says there have been 107 positive cases since July 23.

“I’ll be honest with you the most of those have been with police. We’ve had 41 positive cases in our police department. You couple that with some of the concerns we’re dealing with as a relates to vacancies, you see the problem that we’re going to have,” said Interim City Manager Heath Lloyd.

Council also approved a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for city employees. It will cost the city about $3.5 million.

But about $2 million of that will come from money the city saved by keeping the same millage rate.

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