New health directive lifts more business restrictions in Shelby County

New health directive lifts more business restrictions in Shelby County
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department announced a new health directive Wednesday that further lifts restrictions on businesses.

Health Directive No. 18 goes into effect at midnight Feb. 20. It allows food and beverage service until midnight and eliminates capacity restrictions for dine-in services.

For all indoor/outdoor dining, seating must still be separated by six feet and arranged so each person seated at one table is six feet apart from other people at another table.

Customers may be seated and eat or drink at a bar as long as there is fixed seating for groups of no more than two people. Each set of two seats must be separated by six feet in addition to the six feet of separation from other tables.

Cigar and hookah lounges must follow the same restrictions as restaurants.

All businesses must prohibit indoor smoking or vaping because of the risk of airborne COVID-19 transmission. Any indoor smoking must comply with Tennessee law on age, time and place requirements.

The health department says COVID-19 remains a threat but say they are lifting some restrictions because the community is experiencing reduced transmission of the virus for more than 14 days.

According to the health department, Shelby County’s reproductive rate is 0.8, the lowest since the start of the pandemic, and case numbers have continued dropping since early January. The weekly test positivity rates are also the lowest they’ve been since October.

See the new health directive below.

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