Memphis businesses begin requiring masks under new Shelby County health directive

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Under the latest Shelby County health directive, masks are required in public settings with a few exceptions. As COVID cases continue to rise, it’s once again time to “Mask Up.”

The signs at local businesses are back as masks are now required in all public indoor settings in Shelby County. Renee’s Sandwich Shop downtown told WREG it’s going to do what it must to keep its doors open.

Doors opened bright and early at six a.m, Friday, but by seven a.m., there was a new sign on the front door reading “No mask, No entry.”

“I think it’s wonderful because we all have to get control of the disease,” Diana Davis, the manager of Renee’s Sandwich Shop, said.

Renee’s is just one of the businesses that are now required to have patrons over the age of two wear a mask under the latest health directive. 

“For us, I think it’s good because when they come in and they’re masked up then it’s a less chance that they’ll pass it on to somebody else,” Davis said.

According to the Shelby County Health Department, masks are required in all public indoor settings including restaurants, bars, gyms, common areas of hotels, multi-residential buildings and private clubs. 

The health department said masks can be removed when people are seated at eating and drinking establishments and in places that require cardio activity such as gyms. 

Masks can also be taken off during certain grooming activities and theatre performances.

The mandate comes as COVID cases and hospitalizations reach historic heights.

“Our businesses are excited because they know if they can get their patrons to stay masked up, they’ll have a better chance of staying open,” Shelby County Health Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said.

Davis said they are going to follow the directive closely in order to keep patrons and employees safe as well as make sure they can stay open.

“When that happens, it affects everybody not just me as the person who manages the place or the owner but the employees,” Davis said. “Then they’re out and we’re back to the same old drawing board.”

The Shelby County Health Department said the directive does not overrule Governor Lee’s executive order regarding masks in schools. The mandate will be in effect for at least 30 days, starting August 20.

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