SHELBY COUNTY, Tennessee — UPDATE 3/24/2020 - Starting at six p.m. Tuesday, Safer at Home orders will take effect in the city of Memphis and across Shelby County to combat the growing spread of new, local Coronavirus cases.
The orders were approved Monday, first by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and later by mayors in Shelby County’s municipalities.
The language is the same in all of the orders; the only difference being the city of Memphis’ is scheduled to expire April 7th, while the municipalities orders will be in effect until rescinded by the mayors of those communities.
The orders require people stay at home unless going to essential businesses or doing essential activities and temporarily prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.
What people will still be allowed to do: shop at grocery, convenience or warehouse stores, go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru, pick up medication or go to a medical appointment, care for or support a friend or family member, take walks, ride bikes, hike and jog.
While the orders are in effect, people won’t be allowed to go to work unless it’s essential business, or go to hospitals or nursing homes, and you’ll have to stay away from salons and barber shops.
The orders also require people avoid visiting friends and family if it’s not urgent, and bans anyone going to a gym, golf course, or theater.
Essential businesses include but are not limited to: healthcare operation, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, insurance companies, laundromats and dry cleaners, transportation services, and manufacturing companies.
Monday, Shelby County leaders said these orders are an aggressive way to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, with confirmed cases in Shelby County jumping from 10 last Thursday afternoon to 135 Tuesday morning.
"It will be challenging, but I trust as people rally together and come together, we are going to make a difference together," Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said. "There's already deaths across the state, so trying to make sure that our most vulnerable populations are protected - and that means staying at home and staying away from those most vulnerable."
3/23/2020 - By Tuesday evening, every mile of Shelby County will be under some kind of “safer at home” order - measures put in place as community transmission of new Coronavirus cases continues.
Those with Shelby County and its health department said with these orders, the time is now to be more aggressive in limiting new cases, after they jumped more than nine times in just four days.
"The mayors of our municipalities are interested in unified action,” Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said.
By 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, all of Shelby County will be under some kind of “safer at home” order, restricting travel for non-essential workers to contain the growing spread locally of the Coronavirus.
"It's really time to take aggressive action to stop that - what's called generational transmission,” Dr. Alisa Haushalter, the Shelby County Health Director, said.
The cities of Germantown and Bartlett unveiled its safer at home orders Monday afternoon and Mayor Harris said all other municipalities will follow suit with similar restrictions ahead by Tuesday.
Germantown’s order temporarily prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people and limits travel to only essential businesses, such as grocery or hardware stores.
"The end date of those effective orders will not be specified - instead those orders will all say that those orders be reviewed every seven days,” Mayor Harris said.
The orders came as confirmed Coronavirus cases in Shelby County multiplied from 10 to 93 between Thursday and Monday.
"You'd ideally see some kind of peak in two to four weeks, but we know the numbers are going to continue to go up in the next couple of weeks and then plateau by then and go down,” Dr. Haushalter said.
Mayor Harris said he’s hopeful the orders will cut down on new cases, but acknowledged it will take common sacrifices from everyone.
“The coronavirus is a major disrupter to our way of life, and we could expect it could have a long-lasting impact on our way of life,” Mayor Harris said.
Those with Shelby County said talks are underway for surrounding Tipton, Fayette, and Lauderdale counties to also implement similar safer at home orders, to ensure most of west Tennessee is following the same guidelines.