City of Memphis and Shelby County municipalities announce date for businesses to reopen

By Sherman Greer
May 2, 2020

Mayor Jim Strickland, along with Shelby County’s suburban mayors, announced earlier this week that Phase 1 of their three-phase Back-to-Business plan begins May 4. He stressed that the approach “will be data-driven and not date driven” and that the plan “will not advance from one phase to the next until all the data points are telling us it is safe to do so.”

The announcement comes after leaders at the Shelby County Health Department and medical advisors stated recent data demonstrated that COVID-19 transmission levels had stabilized.  Under Phase 1, social distancing regulations remain in place and gatherings of 10 or more remain prohibited.  This phase also allows retail stores, restaurants and bars to reopen at 50 percent occupancy.  Such civil facilities as libraries will reopen at 25 percent occupancy, the same as gyms and fitness centers. 

Phase 2, which could come a minimum of 14 days later, will expand capacity and permit personal appearance establishments such as hair, nail salons, and spas to open as well as allow the opening of basketball courts, baseball fields and other contact sport facilities. 

Businesses are required to continue social distancing recommendations and to provide face masks to employees during all phases.  Southwest locations remain closed until further notice as the College prepares to launch Phase 1 of its reopening plan later this summer should local, state and federal authorities deem it safe to do so.

Memphis residents have been under local Safer at Home orders since March 19, 2020.