Shelby Co. Health Department was aware of large weekend party but did not shut it down

SCHD investigating holiday weekend party

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department confirmed Tuesday it’s investigating a weekend party at a Winchester Road nightclub, as the promoter behind the event is taking to Instagram to clear his name.

But there are new questions that leave some wondering why the health department didn’t shut down the party Saturday night as health department officials revealed their personnel had visited the site on the night of the event.

“People walked through the door with their mask on. And people had their masks on. But let’s be honest, name me one place that you go to that people have their mask on the whole time,” said promoter Curtis Givens in a Monday night Instagram Live.

COVID-19 concerns surrounds holiday weekend party

Givens said attendees were told to keep their masks on if they weren’t eating or drinking. He said the bubble set up outside club In Love Memphis in the 7100 block of Winchester had a doorway with fresh air coming in and a ventilation system.

“I take a lot of pride in what I do. I care about the people and they know that. Because if I didn’t care, they wouldn’t come,” he said.

The Shelby County Health Department said Tuesday a written plan had not been submitted for the event, and it was under investigation. The department said other unrelated weekend events were being investigated, too.

“I ask you, fellow-citizens, your behavior this weekend. Was it the right thing to do? Was it the responsible thing to do? Was it the safe thing to do,” asked Dr. Bruce Randolph, Shelby County’s Health Officer in a news conference on Tuesday.

WATCH: Shelby Co. COVID-19 Joint Task Force meeting

Health department officials said they were interviewing people who had contact with the In Love event Saturday night including some of their own staffers and law enforcement.

The county’s health officer said health department inspectors were on-site Saturday around 4 p.m. and came back at 8 p.m.

Despite witnessing violations, Randolph said the event wasn’t shut down amid confusion over whether the tent was considered indoors or outdoors.

“They inspected and noted that there were some without masks. Social distancing was not being adhered to,” he said. “There wasn’t a decision to close the facility at that time.”

Randolph said an internal investigation is also underway into any shortcomings on the part of the Shelby County Health Department.

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