Shelby County health officials warn public of traveling risks before Memorial Day weekend

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County health officials are warning the public about the risks associated with traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Americans are starting to plan vacations again, with online bookings slowly increasing since mid-April, according to AAA. Experts said those bookings focused on local and regional destinations.

“A lot of people are probably getting a little bit of cabin fever with all this,” said Josh Hughes, who was walking downtown Thursday along with teammates from the 901 FC soccer team.

“Can’t do anything,” teammate Keanu Marsh-Brown added. “We’re under strict instructions to keep fit, stay inside and stay healthy. Obviously it’s tough being away from the family.”

With added travel comes added risk. The Shelby County Health Department’s Dr. Bruce Randolph acknowledged that in Thursday’s daily news briefing.

“Wherever you go, you still must practice these safe measures,” Randolph said.

He referenced social distancing, face coverings and sanitation specifically.

Randolph also said he’s not concerned about other people traveling to Memphis, even though surrounding counties in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi have followed different rules than Shelby County.

“We just ask everyone to abide by the same safety measures we have in place,” Randolph said.

Josh Hughes saw it a little differently.

“The last thing we need is for businesses to open up and then get shut back down because that’ll cause a lot more turmoil than we need,” he said.

Health officials also discussed an uptick in cases resulting from Mother’s Day get-togethers. They warned the public to follow social distancing and other rules for Memorial Day, and said if that does not happen, further business re-openings could get delayed.

“What we do this weekend will affect what we do later,” Randolph said.

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