Mayor declares emergency in Memphis over coronavirus

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mayor Jim Strickland on Tuesday issued a declaration of emergency for the city of Memphis, effective immediately.

The declaration came just as Shelby County health officials confirmed the third case of coronavirus in the county.

“This declaration allows the City and its departments and agencies to seek any and all necessary federal and state funding to facilitate the response to the Emergency. Additionally, all required procedures and formalities as to procurements on behalf of the City are hereby suspended for purchased of equipment, materials, supplies and services needed for Emergency management purposes,” the mayor said in the declaration.

“As you may have seen, the CDC is now recommending that all social events of 10 or more people be postponed or canceled over the next 15 days. I am urging event organizers locally to follow that guidance,” he said.

Strickland asked people to buy only what they need when shopping for groceries, and avoid hoarding.

He encouraged people to support local restaurants by ordering food to go, and said parking rules would be relaxed for food delivery drivers near restaurants where there are parking meters.

“What we’re trying to do is enter this order now, when we have some breathing room, so that when this gets worse, and we think it will get worse, that we’ll be able to move more quickly,” Strickland said.

Strickland said there will soon undoubtedly be more cases locally and more employees and small businesses hurt financially. But he said he’s optimistic the Mid-South will get through the pandemic.

“We just haven’t had many tests, and we just know that there’s more people that have contracted the virus than our tests are revealing,” Strickland said.

People who get meals from senior centers can continue to receive a daily meal from their respective centers, the mayor said. People who receive meals from MIFA can opt to pick up their meal from their center or have it delivered if they use the city’s van service. 

For the Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Call Center, call (833) 943-1658.

To report price gouging, contact the State of Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at  or call (615) 741-4737

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