MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department is loosening some COVID-19 restrictions with a new health directive and mask order.
Health Directive No. 19 extends dine-in service until 1 a.m. instead of midnight and customers can stay until 1:30 to finish the meal or pay.
The new directive also gets rid of the two-hour dining limit and allows for bar seating with 6 feet of social distancing. It also allows up to eight people together at a table. People seated together must be of the same family unit or close contact group.
Bartenders are encouraged to wear a face shield or double mask while serving multiple groups at the bar but are not required to do so.
Establishments are no longer required to maintain contact tracing records.
The new health directive goes into effect Saturday, but starting Wednesday a new mask order kicks in allowing people who cannot medically tolerate face coverings to go maskless.
Face masks are still required for everyone else.
Cases are declining in Shelby County. The health department reported just 97 new cases Wednesday and no deaths in several days. There are just more than 1,000 active cases in Shelby County. Another 87,000-plus cases are now inactive.
Shelby County has had nearly 90,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began just more than a year ago, and 1,539 people have died.
More than 226,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Shelby County, and close to 160,000 people have received at least one dose.
Shelby County and Tennessee are in phase 1C of vaccinations, the largest of the state’s vaccination phases with more than 1.5 million people included.
See more data from the Shelby County Health Department, including case demographics and geographic data.