Savannah reinstates indoor mask mandate

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A visitor wearing a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19 passes a sign requiring masks, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in San Antonio. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared masks or face coverings must be worn in public across most of the state as local officials across the state say their hospitals are becoming increasingly stretched and are in danger of becoming overrun as cases of the coronavirus surge. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAVANNAH, Ga.— The largest city on Georgia’s coast has reimposed a requirement that people wear masks in public, citing a “steep and alarming rise” in cases of the COVID-19.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson made the announcement Monday in a news conference, saying people now must wear masks any time they are indoors with people who are not members of their immediately families.

Johnson said his order doesn’t apply to schools and colleges, but called on them to do the same, saying rates of COVID-19 have roughly tripled in Chatham County in the last two weeks.

The county saw a big spike in new cases at the end of last week according to state Department of Public Health data, pushing transmission rates to levels last seen in March. Reported new cases are roughly nine times where they were when they bottomed out in late June.

Statewide case rates in Georgia are almost five times as high as they were in late June.

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