MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Doctors say one important way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to avoid large gatherings. But that’s becoming increasingly difficult to do.
As the weather warms up and safer-at-home orders are extended, people want to naturally get outside.
Mayor Strickland ordered roadways in and round parks to be closed.
Part of Riverside Drive is closed to prevent groups from gathering at Tom Lee Park.
Barricades are also set up at roadways leading into Overton Park.
Strickland ordered these additional restrictions after large groups of people gathered over the weekend in several parks, including Tom Lee Park.
The mayor called that a “reckless, irresponsible and selfish” thing to do during this pandemic.
The mayor says his original orders were very clear: you must avoid large gatherings during this coronavirus pandemic.
The Memphis RAINBOW Push Coalition saw some of those photos at local parks and decided to make a plea to people, especially young people, to comply with social distancing orders .
“Young people may not be experiencing symptoms but if you have a grandparent, if you have a senior citizen in your home that you could come in contact with you could jeopardize them, so take the precautions and keep yourself safe, so you can maintain safety with others,” said Joseph Kyles, the president of Memphis RAINBOW Push Coalition.
Shelby County and the municipalities also issued orders directing people to avoid large gatherings.
But some people are not following those directives and there have even been reports of businesses not following the rules.
The Shelby County Health Officer, Bruce Randolph, wanted to remind citizens and businesses that they must comply with those orders.
“I want it to be very clear that this is not a request. It is not a recommendation but a requirement that is supported in law, “ said Randolph.
He says that when it comes to the county, anyone who fails to follow these health directives can be charged with a misdemeanor.
Businesses that don’t comply can be ordered to close.
The health department director Alisa Haushalter told county commissioners that the COVID-19 task force is also working on ways to train citizen groups to help encourage social distancing at public places.
The goal is to let people continue enjoying public areas, but encouraging them to follow the directives without having to issue fines or get law enforcement involved.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris says he believes most people are cooperating and will continue doing so.