Fewer people wearing masks in public as COVID-19 cases increase in Shelby County

Fewer people wearing masks in public as COVID-19 cases increase in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thursday Shelby County saw another day of triple digit increases in COVID-19 cases. Health officials announced another 132 people have tested positive for the illness. But even with more cases, WMC Action News 5′s Kelli Cook found fewer people are wearing masks.

Standing outside a busy grocery store tells the story about facial coverings in the Mid-South.

It was a mixed group of people covering up and others ditching their mask while in public.

"Well, I think we should wear it until they come out with a vaccine,” said Melissa Snider.

Melissa Snider says she estimates about 60% of shoppers had on masks while she was inside.

“I think it’s decreased, actually. I think when they first came out with it everyone was pretty good about it and now I’ve seen a lot less people wearing masks,” said Snider.

The Memphis City Council delayed a final vote Tuesday to pass an ordinance mandating people to wear facial coverings.

Shelby County saw its largest one-day increase of COVID-19 cases Tuesday with 190 new cases.

Wednesday, an additional 98 COVID-19 cases were reported.

Health officials point to more people getting out.

That's exactly what we saw around dinner time Thursday night in Cooper-Young. Busy patios, and hardly anyone wearing a mask.

"If I'm out in public, just gas station, grocery stores, anywhere I usually always wear a mask. I'm about to head to a restaurant now so I trust them to be six feet apart,” said Derek Totten.

There are some businesses that require facial coverings.

"So, when I was in there a lady had to go out and put her mask on to come in. Some people can be a little uneasy about that,” said Ashley Braysier.

Wearing a mask in public is currently recommended but not required.

Snider says passing an ordinance to require masks should come with something else.

"I think it could be mandatory, but they have to supply them,” said Snider.

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