Security measures for the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade have been increased following Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement that he will be visiting the city for the celebrations.
The city announced an enhanced security zone of Saturday’s parade route, complete with checkpoints and a Yes/No list of things that will and won’t be allowed in, according to a news release on Wednesday. The city is setting up bleachers for parade attendees in the area.
Extra security will be enforced between Bay, Oglethorpe, Whitaker and Drayton streets beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, according to the release.
Items commonly seen at the parade such as alcohol, backpacks, bags, animals, umbrellas and portable chairs will not be allowed inside. Items such as strollers, wheelchairs, cameras and service dogs will be allowed in. See the photo below for the full list.
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From 7 to 10 a.m. only, pedestrians will be allowed to come into the secure area, but they have to first go through a magnetometer check point, according to the release. Check points will be set up on Whitaker Street at Bay Lane, Saint Julian Street, Congress Street and Broughton Street. Another set of checkpoints will be set up on Drayton Street at Bay Lane, Broughton Street and President Street.
No one will be allowed in after 10 a.m., and no one will be able to cross the parade route on Bull Street until security gives the go-ahead, which is expected to be around 1 p.m., according to the release.
Folks attending the parades will be allowed to shop in the open stores within the secure section during the parade. Four food trucks will also be set up: two in Johnson Square and two in Wright Square.
No street parking will be allowed in the rectangular area between those four streets including Bay, Bryan, Saint Julian, Congress, Broughton, State, York and Oglethorpe streets and all lanes between those streets.
Any vehicles still there at 12:01 will be towed. Drivers will still be allowed to pass through that area until 2 a.m.
No one will be allowed in the enhanced security zone between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Saturday while law enforcement does a security sweep, according to the release.
Residents who live in this area and are already inside will be allowed to stay, but they could be stopped and asked for identification and proof of residence. Business owners and employees of businesses in that area will not be allowed into the area until 7 a.m.
“The enhanced security is necessary to accommodate the security measures needed for the vice president’s visit,” Director of Public Information Michelle Gavin said. “We know that attending this parade is a tradition for many families. The City of Savannah is working closely with the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the White House, and law enforcement officers to make this enhanced security zone as comfortable as possible where people can enjoy the parade and take part in this historic visit by the vice president.”
Savannah residents with questions can call 311. Non-Savannah residents can call 912-651-6565.
Visit savannahga.gov for more information.