Fourth of July weekend brings crowds downtown, despite rise in Shelby County COVID cases

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department reported 405 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the county’s total to almost 12,000 cases.

But despite the recent rise in cases, people continued to crowd the streets of downtown Memphis this Fourth of July weekend.

Many people downtown said they do have concerns when it comes to COVID-19, but they said they’re not going to let it stop them from going out.

“As long as we stay safe and keep our masks on and stay sanitized, we’ll be OK,” a visitor from out of town said.

Catrina Hicks said she decided to spend the day with her mother downtown. She said they are aware of the COVID-19 risks and have concerns.

But she said they make sure to stay safe by wearing their masks at all times and by social distancing. 

“You have to make a living,” Hicks said. “People don’t stop working. People don’t stop going on. You just have to have faith, and that’s what we’re stepping out on.”

This weekend, the Shelby County Health Department reported a total of nearly 800 new cases.

The number is not too surprising, as cases have been reported by the hundreds for the past week.

Health department and City of Memphis officials said recently the spike in cases comes up to 14 days after major holidays such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. 

Many officials have said the same could be said for the Fourth of July if people weren’t careful.

“How we handle this weekend will determine how many people we send out in body bags in three weeks,” Memphis City Council member Dr. Jeff Warren said.

“Memphis is going to make a comeback,” Hicks said. “It’s just like every place else, it’s going to take some time. Be safe, wear your mask if you can.”

Masks are now required in most public settings in all of Shelby County. Those under the age of 2 and those with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks are excluded.

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