MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis City Council held a special meeting to officially approve an ordinance requiring masks to be worn in public.
Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter says part of the department’s role as far as the new Memphis mask ordinance will include marketing and education.
“We will partner with the city of Memphis in a variety of ways,” Haushalter said. “We do restaurant inspections, everyone is familiar with that. We will be monitoring mask usage in those restaurants.”
The goal is to have at least 60% of people wearing a mask.
Memphis city councilman Dr. Jeff Warren, proponent of the ordinance, says it will be low on enforcement, and that he believes Memphians will do the right thing.
“We need to make sure that we realize in order to stop the spread of this virus and maintain businesses and allow them to remain open and keep our economy going, we all are responsible for our behavior and our behavior affects each other,” Warren said.
Part of the reason for the mandate is to stop the spread of COVID from people who don’t know they have it. Warren says when you’re indoors, your chances of catching the coronavirus is 19 times higher.
“This is much like drunk driving. We have laws on our books that say you can’t drink a fifth of whiskey and go drive because you are dangerous, you might hurt or kill them,” Warren said. “The problem with COVID is you might not know you have something in you that is dangerous to other people.”
The ordinance will now go to the mayor’s office for his signature.