New guidelines for businesses as COVID-19 cases rise in Shelby Co.

Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 5:55 AM CDT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Leaders with the health department have announced a new health directive for businesses in Shelby County.

The enforcement comes after COVID-19 cases quickly rise and a three-day visit to Shelby County last week by federal officials and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • Bars, limited-service restaurants, clubs and adult venues must shut down.
  • Restaurants can remain open, but must end service at 10 p.m. daily.
  • Businesses that require close contact like hair/nail salons and barbershops have to keep a record of all customers.
  • Restaurants must maintain seating charts for 21 days to assist with contact tracing.
  • Businesses must develop a plan on how to communicate with customers if they are exposed to someone if they test positive for COVID.
  • Live music performances are not allowed unless the facility can ensure that each performer will maintain 18 feet of distance (three times current guidelines for social distancing) between any other performer, employee, or patron while singing.
  • Scholastic and other organized teams not deemed to be high-risk as determined by the National Federation of State High School Associations may conduct more comprehensive practices, but contact must be limited.

“What we know is you really can’t drink at a bar when you have a mask on. You have to take it off. And then when you take it off, you’re talking with other people. That’s high risk for transmission. We have to reduce those settings where it’s high risk for transmission,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.

The Memphis-area was one of 10 regions selected by federal officials and the CDC for targeted interventions that could slow case growth. The federal team spent last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Memphis.

Day to day cases of COVID-19 have continued to increase in the county since Memorial Day. The Shelby County Health Department and the city of Memphis have since mandated masking in public.

Haushalter said if the newly-announced interventions do not work, the department could take more drastic steps like closing restaurant dining rooms altogether or scaling back the operations for gym facilities.

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