Memphis to extend stay-at-home orders through May 5

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Tuesday the city’s stay-at-home order will be extended through May 5.

The news comes one day after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said the state’s order would expire April 30, though Shelby County was excluded from the governor’s order.

Shelby County is one of six counties not included in the governor’s plan to reopen the economy next month.

“It’s real important that we get this right,” Memphis Tourism President Kevin Kane said. “Everyone is taking their role seriously.”

All eyes are now on a local economic restart task force. Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland appointed the five-member team of business and health professionals with the responsibility of developing a plan to safely reopen the local economy.

“The mandate from the city’s mayors is that they want to be data-driven, not day-driven,” Kane said. “They want to make sure we’re doing best practices and following the advice and counsel of the medical professionals.”

Medical experts on the task force saids certain benchmarks need to be considered, like a decrease in positive tests, more testing and more contact tracing, before reopening.

“The last thing we would want to do is to move too quickly or to reopen and all of a sudden have to turn around and start going backwards again,” Kane said.

Mayor Strickland’s office said all aspects of reopening will be considered.

“This is all uncharted territory, and we’re working together collectively to try and find the best solutions with the information we have at hand,” part of a statement from the mayor’s office read.

It’ll be a joint effort to get to the other side of COVID-19.

“In the midst of this pandemic, we’re now starting to look at the other side and how we can get our economy going again,” Kane said.

The task force meets daily and is working on a final report that will be presented to the mayors.

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