Memphis, Shelby County municipalities announce date to reopen, phase 1 of Back-to-Business plan

A look at Shelby County’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols for businesses reopening

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Phase one of the Back-to-Business plan with the City of Memphis and Shelby County will begin May 4.

The municipalities came together to develop the plan. Officials said after studying data and taking advice from medical professionals with the Shelby County Health Department, May 4 is the appropriate time to begin reopening the county.

Phase one of reopening includes no purposeful groups of more than 10, still following social distancing, places of worship and civil facilities (such as libraries) can reopen a 25% capacity and much more.

For a full breakdown of phase one - click here.

Mayor Lee Harris -- “As we enter the first phase of the economic recovery, I have to note that members of our community have made serious sacrifices. We have residents who have put their livelihoods and their ability to take care of their families on the line. We have healthcare employees and other frontline workers who have continued to serve through a very tough period of hardship. As we enter Phase 1, we must continue to be vigilant as a community. We must expand our efforts to protect vulnerable groups. And, if there is a significant flare up, we must be prepared to be honest about it.”

Mayor Jim Strickland, City of Memphis -- “As we said at the beginning of this week, our data was trending in the right direction. Along with our doctors, we believe it’s time to slowly start opening our economy back up and get Memphians working again. As we have said since the beginning, we will continue to monitor this situation very closely to make sure our citizens remain safe and healthy.”

Mayor Mike Wissman, City of Arlington -- “I’m glad to stand beside all the mayors of Shelby Co in support of announcing a date to reopen. The Health Department plays a vital role in our community, but we as elected leaders have to look at the overall health of our entire community. Our citizens are crying for help on so many levels, and we need to help them on every level possible by re-opening with guidelines.”

Mayor Keith McDonald, City of Bartlett -- “Effective Monday, May 4, 2020 the City of Bartlett, along with Shelby County and the other municipalities within Shelby County, will be entering into Phase I of the Back-to-Business framework document. We, as others, are anxious to get the economy started again. This does not mean that you should let your guard down. Some people will still need to stay at home.”

Mayor Stan Joyner, Town of Collierville -- “We are pleased to announce that the Town of Collierville is doing what is best for our community and will be re-opening businesses next week.”

Mayor Mike Palazzolo, City of Germantown -- “We are grateful for your thoughtful diligence in following the guidelines for staying home and practicing social distancing. While these practices have gotten us to the point where we are comfortable with a phased reopening of our economy, it’s not the time to forget those good habits that we have established. Stay home when you can, wash your hands and wear a mask in public. We must work together to ensure that this reopening is successful.”

Mayor Mike Cunningham, City of Lakeland -- “Today, I’m excited to stand with the leadership of Shelby County and announce the date for reopening our businesses. I want to thank the citizens and businesses of Lakeland for their patience and cooperation during these unprecedented times. This is only the first step in the process and we must remain vigilant with safety measures including social distancing, wearing masks, and staying home as much as possible. I’m confident that as a community we can achieve success and get back to a sense of normalcy.”

Mayor Terry Jones, City of Millington -- “We’ve been working together for weeks on this, and I appreciate the unified effort. I believe this is the best way to move forward, in unity.”

Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Director, Shelby County Health Department -- “We have been watching the data carefully and have continued to improve, particularly in hospital capacity and testing capacity, both of which continue to expand. Over this next phase, we will need to commit to expand our public health capacity to conduct investigations and aggressively respond to clusters as they emerge.”

Dr. Jon McCullers, UTHSC -- “Based on the data, I believe we have a stable rate of new cases, have seen a decline in utilization of hospital beds and are now in a steady state with day to day variation in bed utilization. We have sufficient capacity in the hospitals, in our testing capacity, and public health areas to justify relaxing some restrictions at this time. Throughout the reopening, we will continue to monitor the data as it comes to us.”

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