We completely understand how fear of the unknown can unintentionally lead one to spiral down a never ending rabbit hole. If you are here reading this blog, know that so far you are already off to a great start! Doing your research about COVID-19 and how it relates to you, your travel destination and your lodging will be key to your peace of mind.
You’ve probably heard this a million times but, if you haven’t done so already, start by educating yourself on how to stay protected from COVID-19 by practicing the guidelines set forth by the public health experts. The World Health Organization and the CDC have tons of informational resources to assess whether or not traveling is the best option for you given your personal circumstances.
Reviewing the safety precautions set forth by the local community is equally, if not more important to note before making a final decision on whether to stay home or book a staycation. As Savannah residents ourselves, we are happy to share boots-on-the ground insight to provide you with an added layer of awareness to help you make an informed decision about your future visit to the Hostess City of the South amidst COVID-19.
Let’s start by running through local news you may or may not have already heard of.
Spring 2020 - From the get go, the City of Savannah has been proactive about minimizing exposure as much as possible. From the moment a state of emergency was declared on March 19th group gatherings at risk of exposure were limited with COVID-19 in mind. By the end of May, the City of Savannah began to reopen. Safety practices such as handing out free masks to those who did not have any, as well as social distancing precautions at downtown restaurants were strongly encouraged but not yet enforced.
Summer 2020 - Effective July 1st, the City of Savannah’s Mayor Van Johnson’s emergency order for face masks was established stating that masks are to be worn in all public settings, with some allowable exceptions, such as health conditions, inside personal vehicles, physical activities, etc. (Read the full order here). Soon after, the city’s mandatory ordinance was backpedaled by Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp causing a bit of confusion, but this order has more recently been approved after public safety concerns were raised. In sum, the City of Savannah’s Mayor’s rule stands today as is.
As stated by the World Health Organization and the CDC, mask-wearing is an essential virus mitigation protocol we must follow to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Today, it has become evidently clear that local businesses unanimously agree that it is best to abide by the public health experts’ recommendations and enforce mask-wearing whenever social distancing is not an option.
Adherence to regulatory guidelines keeps customers happy, staff members safe and businesses open. That is why local bars and restaurants in Savannah abide by the city’s mask-wearing safety ordinance to mitigate exposure to the best of their ability from the start.
Examples of some safeguarding practices are: requiring a mask to enter retail stores; enforcing mask-wearing to be seated at a restaurant; spacing out tables and chairs to maintain a safe 6-foot radius when in an enclosed room, and encouraging outdoor seating if available. Alternatively, many of our favorite restaurants like Bull Street Tacos, have also resorted to adopting new safety practices by offering a takeout menu for delivery or pick up. Customers can order online or from their mobile device and have food ready for curbside pickup within a short time frame.
Mask-wearing and social distancing applications are also being followed in places where larger crowds typically gather, including baseball stadiums and places of worship. Some churches have resorted to a hybrid reopening where masks are required for all who physically attend and pews or seating areas spaced to a 6-foot radius. Virtual masses or sermons are also available for those who are immunocompromised or uncomfortable attending in person.
Like everywhere else in the world, the burden of compliance for a safe travel experience will ultimately fall on each of us to do our part.
We hope that this inside scoop will help you feel comfortable making your next trip to the beautiful city of Savannah. COVID-19 has brought a sense of camaraderie to our community as we do our part to keep our home safe for visitors like you!
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable about a safe getaway! South Key is doing its part by providing all of our guests with face-masks upon check-in along with additional safety measures which you can read about here.
We’ll be looking forward to your arrival!