MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Coming in the next few days, new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Shelby County. Health officials said they will look at transmission numbers over the weekend, and make a formal announcement about new restrictions early in the week.
Late last week Shelby County health officials activated a mask ordinance, but they said that’s likely not the only change coming to the county to combat this virus. Officials alluded to possible restrictions targeting bars and restaurants.
“Time we take additional measures to reduce transmission in our community,” Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said.
At its latest press conference the Memphis Shelby County Joint COVID-19 Task Force told the public it will enforce new restrictions, but stopped short or saying what those restrictions will be.
“We’re giving notice now and we want to observe the next couple of days of data and make our formal announcement next week,” Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph said.
On Saturday, Shelby County saw 380 new COVID-19 cases. Then on Sunday another 405 cases.
According to the Shelby County Health Department, the county has now seen 11,829 cases throughout the pandemic and nearly 200 deaths.
A graph of the county’s weekly positivity rates show a decline during the county’s safer at home order. Then a weekly uptick since phase two of the Back-to-Business plan started. The last weekly positivity rate recorded is nearly 13 percent.
It’s likely bars and restaurants may see the first of the restrictions.
“We will look at bars and the role they play when it comes to transmission rates as well as restaurants and other facilities,” Haushalter said.
Several Memphis restaurants closed because of COVID-19 transmission. Others have chosen to close for the sake of public safety, including One and Only BBQ on Germantown Parkway which closed its dining room because people were not wearing masks.
Health officials said along with new restrictions, they’ll also lay out concrete metrics so the public can have a better idea of what will control progress.
“It’s time to set more formal thresholds or trip wires so we can make decisions very quickly and the public can be aware of what metrics will drive our movement forward or backward,” Haushalter said.
We haven’t heard of the exact day health officials will make this announcement, but the next planned COVID-19 task force public briefing is Tuesday.