MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There will soon be new safety requirements for retailers in Memphis.
The new requirements are all meant to get businesses closer to reopening, like much of the rest of Tennessee.
Mayor Jim Strickland announced Wednesday a new COVID-19 compliance protocol that retailers must follow starting this Friday.
It includes limiting capacity to 50 percent of the store, establishing waiting lines with six feet between people, providing hand sanitizer at entrances, requiring employees to wear facial coverings and providing a shopping hour for people over 55 or with underlying heath conditions.
“We cannot squander all the good we have done with our social distancing efforts to slow the spread of the virus,” Strickland said.
In response, the Tennessee Grocers Association released the following statement to WREG.
“The mayor’s office has, in consultation with the grocery industry, issued an order that is consistent with the industry’s efforts so far. It will not be difficult for Memphis grocery stores to implement the order’s elevated standards.”
But as most Tennessee counties plan for some businesses to reopen May 1, Mayor Strickland said that won’t be the case in Memphis. He’s already extended the order to May 5, and that may not be the end.
“I do anticipate the Safer-at-Home order in some form will go past May 5,” Strickland said.
He said the economic recovery team will likely decide on three phases for businesses reopening, but whether any of those phases can start depends on the data.
“If certain criteria has been reached by May 5, and we can allow us to go into phase one, then we will implement that,” Strickland said. “If not, we will clearly set forth where we are in the process to get to phase one.”
He said the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, along with the health department’s ability to test and contact trace, will primarily guide his decision.