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Shelby County Health Department inspects reopened restaurants, reminds public of how to wear masks & facial coverings

Phase one of the local three-phase reopening plan began Monday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Shelby County, as things slowly get 'Back to Business' this week, health experts aren't letting up in making sure restaurants reopen the right way - and safely - with new temporary guidelines.

Since Memphis area restaurants reopened their dining rooms starting Monday at half capacity, Shelby County Health Department inspectors also dropped by.

"Make sure that everything is done safely for the consumer and that everyone is protected during this time," Kasia Smith-Alexander with the Shelby County Health Department said.

For the weeks ahead, staff at those reopened Shelby County restaurants must wear masks, use disposable menus, and close off self-service areas and buffets.

Thursday, health department inspectors said they found some restaurants not following all the rules.

"Some of them have been very minor, as far as maybe too many people were waiting for a to-go order or they weren't enforcing the social distancing," Smith-Alexander said.

Even as Shelby County entered into the first reopening phase Monday, the health department continues to ask the public to wear masks or facial coverings out in public.

As the Memphis City Council also debates an ordinance requiring facial covering be worn during a public health emergency, health experts Thursday also reminded the public of the dos and don’ts while wearing a mask.

Among the safety tips:

  • Wash your hands before putting a mask on.
  • Make sure the mask snugly covers the mouth, nose, and chin.
  • Use ear loop to remove a mask.
  • Wash a cloth mask daily.

What not to do?

  • Don't wear your mask only on tip of your nose.
  • Don't leave gaps on the side of a mask.
  • Don't touch the mask on your face while using it.
  • Don't pull a mask down to your chin or up to your forehead.

"The most effective way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is still staying at home, washing your hands, and practicing effective social distancing," Jennifer Randle with the Shelby County Health Department said.

Starting Thursday and in the days ahead, anyone needing a mask can pick them up - one per person - at the Shelby County Health Department's main location and its satellite health clinics. Governor Bill Lee's office provided Shelby County with more than 40,000 masks.

RELATED: Free face masks available at Shelby County public health clinics beginning Thursday

RELATED: Casinos in Arkansas will be able to reopen with capacity restrictions on May 18

RELATED: Trump administration shelves CDC guide to reopening country

RELATED: Memphis Zoo, Memphis Botanic Garden submit reopening proposals

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