Masks are back, and so is the Southern Heritage Classic, organizers say


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Organizers want to continue the tradition of the Southern Heritage Classic, and the event is moving forward, while trying to follow local health guidelines.

This events will be held Sept. 9-11, with the game Sept. 11 at the Liberty Bowl.

“We’re all taking our guidance from the Shelby County Health Department. That’s where we are right now,” said Fred Jones, founder of the Southern Heritage Classic.

According to the Shelby County Health Department, large scale events can still happen even with the indoor mask mandate being re-enacted Friday. Social distancing is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged under the new health directive.

“We know our hospitals are under strain,” Dr. Michelle Taylor said in a health department briefing on Thursday.

This mandate was issued amid an urgent call from local hospital officials.

In the above statement, emergency room medical directors and hospital leaders said they are concerned without “capacity restrictions at large events and emphasis on social distancing, thousands may be unable to receive care.”

Taylor said as of now, they are not making any mandates around capacity, but that could change.

“Nothing is off the table,” Taylor said.

Instead, she said people should choose to socially distance and mask up when outside in large gatherings.

“We understand people want to gather and enjoy events,” Taylor said, “but we’re also asking people to be smart about it.”

With more than 20,000 tickets already sold for his annual event, Jones said he hoped they’d still be able to have it. Jones said he is working closely with the health department to follow their rules.

Jones advocated anyone who wants to attend the event should also get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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