Gov. Bill Lee gives other Tennessee counties authority to require facial coverings

Gov. Bill Lee gives other Tennessee counties authority to require facial coverings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Friday, the Shelby County Health Department mandated masks for all residents when in public.

It was a mixed bag of people obeying and ignoring the new mask ordinance in Overton Square Friday evening.

The City of Memphis and now Shelby County agree that is no longer a “recommendation” to wear a mask in public. It is now a requirement.

“Just put the doggone mask on. It’s helping yourself and it’s helping others,” said Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari with the “Mask Up Memphis” campaign.

Akbari applauds local leaders’ decision to mandate facial coverings, but she says there’s more that can be done across the state.

“Honestly I would like to see us do statewide requirements for masks. A lot of our smaller counties and cities that are open, that have been open, not in a phase format just all the way open and they’re starting to see a rise in their cases as well,” said Akbari.

Akbari is one step closer to getting her wish.

Unlike Shelby County, with its own locally run health department, other counties fall under the state’s guidance.

Late Friday evening Governor Bill Lee announced that he signed an executive order granting county mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local mask requirements if they see a spike in cases.

There are more than 48,000 cases of the Novel Coronavirus in the state of Tennessee.

Shelby County’s latest weekly positivity rate jumped from 10.3% to 12.7%.

“That’s evidence of transmission in the community and we’re concerned,” said Shelby County Health Officer Dr Bruce Randolph.

Health officials say wearing a mask can reduce transmission.

Akbari says “Mask Up Memphis” is committed to giving out 20,000 masks.

She says they’re giving them out all over the city including local libraries and MATA bus terminals.

You can also get a free mask at all Shelby County Health Department locations from 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. while supplies last at these locations:

  • Cawthon Public Health Clinic
    • 1000 Haynes, 38114
  • Collierville Public Health Clinic (Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)
    • 167 Washington St., 38017
  • Hickory Hill Public Health Clinic
    • 6590 Kirby Center Cove, 38118
  • Shelby Crossing Public Health Clinic
    • 6170 Macon Road, 38133
  • Southland Mall Public Health Clinic 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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