MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - If you’re planning to run to the grocery store or doctor’s office in Memphis, you’ll need to bring a mask.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has signed an ordinance that would require residents to wear a mask or facial covering in public.
The Memphis City Council’s face covering/mask ordinance passed last Tuesday, after weeks of debate.
“I think it’s a very good idea to have it mandatory just to keep everyone safe, and with the numbers rising and everything. I think it’s important,” said Annalise Murphy, mask wearer.
The ordinance requiring people inside the City of Memphis to wear masks especially inside buildings or in large groups.
“I think it’s great to keep people safe, who may or may not have immune systems. You don’t really know what people are dealing with,” said Jayla Slater, mask wearer.
The ordinance requires people to wear facial coverings in businesses, hospitals government offices public transit. You have to wear masks going into a restaurant but not while you are eating.
“I think it’s a good idea to keep everyone safe. Only time will tell,” said Jalea Slater, mask wearer.
You don’t have to wear a mask outside if you are riding bikes or doing some type of exercising. If you are just outside around a few people you are expected to social distance.
“The only reason I’m not wearing a mask right now is because I’m outside. But usually I’d have a mask on at the grocery store or any convenience store anywhere I go but when we’re outside we are staying away from people on our bike,” said Lauren Klemm, mask wearer.
Mask ordinance violators will be given a warning and those warnings likely will go to businesses not enforcing the ordinance. Code enforcement will issue those after an investigation.
Some businesses like Whole Foods Costco and Fresh Market already require customers to wear masks. And if they don’t, they are turned away.
Kroger said it is deferring to the Tennessee Grocers Association who said in a statement the grocers are taking many precautions but it is up to individuals to take personal responsibility.
Failure to comply with the ordinance will result in a Class C misdemeanor.
The warnings could expand to fines later down the line. The mask ordinance likely will be legally challenged by individuals or groups. But right now wearing a mask is required.
To view the full ordinance, click here.