County Commission urges health department to require masks in public

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Commission is urging the county’s health department to require wearing facial coverings in public.

Commissioners approved a resolution Monday night urging the health department to make masks mandatory outside the home for residents and visitors in Shelby County through Sept. 1, or earlier if the health department decides.

There are some exceptions for people unable to wear masks due to medical reasons, children under 2, diners in restaurants and people exercising outdoors.

The resolution, which passed 8-5, also says Shelby County will supply masks to county employees, visitors to county offices and inmates.

A Healthy Shelby Business initiative will be established to educate the public on facial coverings and keep a list of businesses that display facial covering policies.

The Shelby County Health Department encourages wearing facial coverings in public to protect against the spread of COVID-19, but does not require it. The resolution urges the health department to adopt stronger language.

“This resolution will allow for a safer community all around and will be a path to the Healthy Shelby we want to see, so we can get back to business with the people’s health placed in the forefront,” said Commissioner Tami Sawyer, who co-sponsored the resolution with Commissioner Van Turner.

Shelby County entered Phase 2 of the Back to Business Plan on Monday.

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