Savannah mayor on Georgia case surge

In response to the rapid uptick in coronavirus cases, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced a very strict mask policy.
3:22 | 07/06/20

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Transcript for Savannah mayor on Georgia case surge
The state of Georgia has shattered coronavirus records recently after reporting almost 3500 new cases last Thursday alone and now here to discuss how one of Georgia's biggest city is handling this surge is the mayor of Savannah, van Johnson. In response to this rapid uptick in cases, Savannah announced a very strict mask policy. Tell us about it. Right, due to again the conditions that you have described, I issued an emergency order for mandatory masks. People in public space, commercial spaces, just an opportunity for us to make sure that we do all we can to keep our citizens safe. Speaking of doing all you can, what else are you doing to protect Savannah? Well, obviously, we don't want this to be punitive. The goal here is not to be punitive. The goal here is compliance. We spent the weekend, myself included, police chief, our department, offering our many visitors, our citizens, offering them masks before we went to any punitive means. Again, the goal is -- we know the science is very clear, wearing masks slows the spread of coronavirus and so we know that the more people we have wearing masks we know that we're able to get in front of or catch up to this virus. Mayor, what do you believe is contributing to this rise in cases in your region? I think it's a variety of things. I think we clearly opened too early, I think that's one thing. The Savannah is a beautiful place. People come to Savannah. We have 15 million visitors who come here a year. The weather is great. People are escaping to Savannah from places that they were locked down or had very restrictive measures, they come here to live their best lives. The problem with that is for our citizens it creates an issue. We have to make sure they're respecting our home, where we live, we want them to have a good time. We want them to do it safely. Savannah is a very beautiful place to visit. Thank you. Last week Georgia governor Kemp extended two emergency health orders, how confident are you that this will help flatten the curve? The emergency order -- the governor's or my order? The governor's order. I think the governor's order is very clear, we're not out of the woods yet. We still have an emergency situation in our city, in our state, and the governor's spent last week going around the five cities. Had the surgeon general with him on one of the stops, encouraging, strongly advocating for the use of masks. I think we're all on the same page. We're very, very clear -- we're in trouble. We have to get in front of this thing. The only way to get in front of it is to not be passive but to be aggressive. It's an emergency. Make sure we're taking proactive measures to protect the citizens that we love and we have sworn to protect. We certainly appreciate your leadership and your time today. Thank you so much, Savannah mayor van Johnson. Thank you so much. Come visit us when it's safe to do so. You no I will. All right, thank you very much. Have a great one.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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