Memphis, Shelby County leaders urge health department to change mask requirements

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An ordinance that would require all Memphians to wear a mask or facial covering is making its way through city council.

The ordinance passed second reading before full council on Tuesday. It now heads towards its third and final reading, but there is a chance to make amendments to it.

A similar resolution passed a County Commission vote Monday.

The Shelby County Commission instead urging the Shelby County Health Department to change its stance on the public wearing facial coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

However, Dr. Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department, said they wouldn’t adjust current directives at this time.

“As of today, we would prefer to use that stronger language at a time where it’s deemed most necessary,” Dr. Haushalter said. “So, we want to focus, right now, on really educating the public.”

Dr. Haushalter did stress people should be wearing face coverings when they are outside of their homes.

The health department will help businesses develop plans to protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19.

Local officials want to use different approaches but they all have the same goal.

“If we’re all on once accord, I think we can show a great example for this community and help lead us back to a stable economy and minimize the spread of COVID-19,” Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner said.

WREG spoke with shoppers about the face mask debate and one woman says she won’t leave home without one.

“I don’t want to go in the stores when I see people without a mask,” Samantha Bush said. “Everybody should wear them because you don’t know who’s sick out here. So, I think everyone should wear a mask.”

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