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Savannah reimposes mask requirement amid COVID rise

December 22, 2021 GMT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced Wednesday that the city is reinstituting a mask requirement inside city-owned buildings amid a rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the contagious omicron variant.

The announcement came a day after Atlanta’s mayor reissued a mask order for her city. Atlanta’s order also applies to private businesses.

Johnson encouraged businesses to make employees and customers wear masks, saying now was the time to do everything possible to “mitigate the oncoming wave.”

“We know it’s coming, so we need to prepare proactively for that to happen,” he said at his weekly news conference.

For now, the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration and other future events will go forward, but Johnson said that could change if infections, hospitalizations and community spread continue rising sharply.

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Infections in Georgia rose to nearly 6,000 cases detected on Tuesday. The state’s seven-day average of infections has more than doubled in less than a week.

At an event Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp said no new statewide mitigation measures were immediately planned, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“I think from looking where we are, we’re still holding our own,” he said.