MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If being out in the summer sun has you thinking about traveling out of state over the next few weeks, you might need to pump the brakes a bit.
Some health experts are once again sounding the alarm that, if we don’t social distance or wear a face mask indoors and outdoors, it could lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases and have Memphis and Tennessee travelers placed on a quarantine list in other states.
“We are one to two weeks behind from being added to the quarantine list,” said Dr. Jeff Warren, a member of the local COVID task force. “There is definitely that possibility based on the rate of growth that we are seeing.”
Warren believes it could happen, because of the way the public reacted to reopening for business.
“When we went to Phase 2 we blew it,” he said. “People thought we got this thing licked, and we said, we’re starting to open up, and instead of opening up and being careful, we acted like things were back to normal.”
It’s why the New York Tri-State region, once the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, this week began enforcing a 14-day quarantine on travelers from so-called hot spots.
The advisory currently applies to travelers from Arkansas, among other places.
At the city and county joint task force briefing, the health department talked about the travel ban targeting Southern states.
Even they don’t anticipate a potential surge until October, health experts say there are things that we can do right now to help prevent another shutdown of businesses and your summer travel plans.
“In order to keep our businesses open and not be quarantined from traveling to New York and other parts of the country, what we’ll need to do is wear your mask indoors and outdoors in crowds, wash your hand frequently and you’ll need to social distance,” Warren said.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland on Thursday signed a city ordinance mandating facial coverings in public spaces.