County mayor says investigation underway into large party thrown over holiday weekend

COVID-19 concerns surrounds holiday weekend party

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris is urging attendees at a large party thrown over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to be tested as a result of possible COVID-19 exposure.

He also said the county is looking into the circumstances surrounding the party.

“I implore the attendees to get tested and, above all, avoid going around older relatives or others who have respiratory issues, until they are certain that they are not carrying this disease. Additionally, investigations into any reports about businesses that organized any event that put our community at increased risk are in process, and I expect that will be completed shortly,” said Harris in a written statement.

A promotional video for club In Love Memphis touts a bubble party this past Saturday, put on by Memphis promoter Curtis Givens.

The party took place in the 7100 block of Winchester Road, inside a tent erected outside In Love Memphis nightclub, a facility that was forcibly closed by the Shelby County Health Department in September for violations of a prior health directive. It has since reopened.

5 businesses forcibly closed by health dept 6pm

Dozens of images and videos on social media show a packed house with only some attendees wearing masks.

Baptist infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld said Monday hosting a party like that right now is troubling.

“Speaking personally and not for anyone else, I found a couple of those things I saw online unbelievably dangerous and spectacularly irresponsible,” said Threlkeld. “Attached to any number of those people at those parties are grandparents and parents. And we will no doubt lose a few people because of such a gathering at this moment and time.”

Reaction has been swift online, with some tipsters bringing WMC Action News 5 their concerns about the party.

“My open letter to Curtis Givens and those who attended The Bubble party: It is an absolute disgrace and insult to everyone who has worked tirelessly to stop the spread of this unprecedented deadly pandemic,” wrote one person on Facebook.

When reached for comment Monday a person who answered Givens’ phone said he was unavailable. He later sent word that he was not interested in talking about the party.

WMC Action News 5 also left a message for management at club In Love Memphis.

The Shelby County Health Department says you can call the county mayor’s action line, the city mayor’s call center or the health department’s COVID-19 hotline to report concerns about social distancing or violations of the Safer At Home orders.

WMC Action News 5 reached out to the Shelby County Health Department Monday morning. A spokesperson said Monday afternoon they were aware of the party. The spokesperson added something was in the works but did not provide any other details.

WMC Action News 5 also requested comment from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s office.

“With COVID-19 cases rising exponentially in Shelby County, it’s extremely unfortunate that some people chose to endanger themselves and others by attending large gatherings without wearing a mask. This was a violation of the health department’s current health directive. As we have for several months now and in addition to the Shelby County Sheriff, the City of Memphis stands ready to help the Shelby County Health Department with enforcement of their health directive as necessary and as needed,” said Ursula Madden, the city’s chief communications officer.

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