Memphis, Shelby County mayors discuss when to reopen salons and barber shops

Memphis, Shelby County mayors discuss when to reopen salons and barber shops

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Some leaders of cities and towns in Shelby County are planning to allow salons, barber shops and other close contact business to reopen May 6, earlier than outlined in the collaborative “Back To Business” plan.

It’s unclear if those businesses will be allowed to reopen.

A lot of people in Shelby County are desperate for a haircut after those businesses have been closed for over a month and that is causing some disagreement in the reopening plan, which up to this point, has been a collaborative effort.

“This is not back to business as usual,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

Mayors in all cities and towns in Shelby County unveiled an agreed upon Back to Business plan Thursday outlining Phase One of getting some business open with strict guidelines after several weeks of a declining local COVID-19 infection rate.

Health experts say they plan to monitor new cases, hospital capacity and more data points closely.

“We would hope that we’re not going to see a spike in cases,” Dr. Jon McCullers from UTHSC said.

While the mayors in Shelby County have worked in conjunction throughout this pandemic, there’s now signs of disagreement around reopening salons, barber shops and other close contact businesses.

Mayors in Bartlett and Collierville say they plan to reopen those businesses May 6, mirroring Governor Bill Lee’s plan.

The City of Germantown posted on Facebook that they’re debating that opening date.

The Shelby County Back to Business plan has salons and barber shops listed in Phase Two, a date which has not yet been announced.

“So that’s been the focus of a whole lot of conversations among the Mayors, the municipal leaders across Shelby County,” Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said. “We continued to be in those conversations, we’re going to have another conversation on Monday.”

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and the Shelby County Health Department say they want to align their plans as much as possible and they plan to discuss salons and barber shops soon.

“I think before anybody jumps the gun, they need to wait and see what is issued by the health department,” Lisa Haushalter, Director of the Shelby County Health Department said. “We have not given approval for nail salons, or barber shops or any of the aforementioned to open.”

“I think we will all be aligned as we always have been and so those conversations will continued,” Mayor Harris said.

The Shelby County Health Department says local mayors can choose to be more strict or flexible on reopening within their municipality.

With May 6 a few days away, the health department plans to have conversations with local leaders and work toward a consensus.

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