Breaking News
More () »

Memphis mayor declares civil state of emergency; orders restaurants to move to take-out/delivery, and bars & gyms to close

The order is effective midnight Thursday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says he is declaring a state of civil emergency, effective midnight. 

In a release, Strickland said the order requires restaurants to perform only take-out or delivery – and bars, gyms, and other workout facilities to close.

Read the full release below:

As we have been doing for the past two weeks, the City of Memphis is taking every precaution necessary to limit the spread of COVID19 through policy, declaration, and direct action.

For the first time in Memphis, we are now experiencing community transmission of the virus meaning it is no longer only being transmitted from someone who has traveled outside the city. To that end, effective midnight March 19, 2020, I am declaring a state of civil emergency. By declaration, I am requiring all restaurants to perform only take-out or delivery services and bars, gyms and other workout facilities to close. In addition, I am asking that all worship services either be streamed online or postponed until further notice.

During this time, we strongly encourage you to continue to-go orders and support our local restaurants and their staffs. We’re providing on-street parking relief exclusively for food delivery vehicles at various restaurant locations Downtown and Midtown where parking meters are installed. For a Downtown restaurant pick-up, take-out and delivery, go here. 

To see executive order, click here.

I want our business owners, service workers, faith leaders, and the citizens of Memphis to know these are not easy decisions, and they have not been made lightly. My heart goes out to all that are affected, and our office will do everything within our power to work with you to get the resources you need as quickly as we can get them.
Additionally, we are taking action now with UT Health Science Center and the Shelby County Health Dept. to get ready for drive thru testing at Tiger Lane when test kits become more widely available. We are currently working through logistics to make sure once we have tests the process is smooth and efficient. No tests are being administered today. As we have more concrete information, we will share times of operation, traffic flow, and when you can expect to get the test results.
I mentioned this earlier this week, and I just want to reiterate the point again. When you grocery shop, please only get what you need. There is no need to hoard. Infant formula is being hoarded along with many other household items. Unlike toilet paper or peanut butter, infant formula is not easily substituted. The stores all have plenty of food and supplies either in-store, online or on the way. It’s just a matter of having time to get shelves restocked. We ask that you be patient. If you’re a family who may have formula you can donate, contact your local faith organization, Mid-South Food Bank or MIFA.

Yesterday, I told you about the creation of the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund at the Community Foundation. The fund will provide flexible funding to organizations working with community members who have been impacted by novel Coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak in West Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi.

The first phase of these rapid-response grants will address:

• The economic impact of reduced and lost work due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak;
• Immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by closures and cancellations related to COVID-19;
• Increased demand for medical information and support; and
• Fear and confusion about the outbreak among the region’s most vulnerable residents.

To learn more and donate online, visit cfgm.org/COVID

As many of you saw yesterday, the legendary Grindfather, Tony Allen and the Memphis Grizzlies had message to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Check out the message here.

Thanks so much to Tony and the entire Grizzlies organization for always being such a great partner.
Finally, to our first responders—words can never express how truly grateful I am for what you’re doing and what you will do over the next several weeks. You are the best of the best, and the light that will help lead us through the darkness as more people become ill. Know that we fully support you as we move through this difficult time.

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: March 19, 2020
COVID-19 Cases

Shelby County : 10
Tennessee            : 98
Shelby County Residents Approved for Testing by State Lab: 36
Persons Under Public Health Monitoring in Shelby County : 81
Above numbers updated as of 2:00 p.m. 3/19/20

Shelby County currently has ten (10) confirmed COVID-19 cases. Results on six (6) new cases were reported to the Health Department last night. This increase is not unexpected because commercial laboratories have begun reporting results on tests conducted over the last several days.

While there is still no direct evidence of community transmission of the virus, the rapid increase in cases is suggestive that community transmission may be occurring. Now is the time for strict adherence to the Health Department’s social-distancing recommendations:

Messages for Individuals:
• Avoid handshakes and close contact with others whenever possible.
• Cancel or postpone gatherings of 10 or more people. Instead of visiting friends or relatives, call or video chat.
• Stay at home whenever possible. While Shelby County School students and many others are out of school, keep children home and plan home-based activities.
• Do not go to work or go out in public if you are sick, especially with fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms.
• Re-evaluate travel plans. It is strongly recommended to avoid any unnecessary travel. If traveling overseas, check the CDC’s travel advisory website, which is updated daily: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel. If traveling within the U.S., avoid destinations where COVID-19 has been reported.
• Avoid non-essential flights. Traveling by private vehicle limits exposure to other people.
• Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Scrub dirt under fingernails with a brush and soap.
• Practice respiratory etiquette by using a tissue if coughing or sneezing, then throwing the tissue away and washing your hands.
• Sanitize surfaces that are frequently touched by many people with anti-bacterial wipes or diluted bleach solution.
Messages for Community/Business Leaders:
• Cancel or postpone meetings and conferences of 10 or more people.
• Consider conducting all conferences and meetings by phone or video chat rather than face-to-face.
• Move desks and office furniture to put at least six feet of distance between employees.
• Businesses that serve the public, including restaurants and retail stores should encourage social distancing by putting space between tables and spacing out check-out lines as much as possible.
• Consider providing delivery or curbside pick-up options to limit interactions in stores and restaurants.
• Encourage and enable employee telecommuting to limit person-to-person interactions as much as possible.

The Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage also has a new easy-to-remember link: shelbytnhealth.com/coronavirus. The page includes useful information about the virus and links to resources for individuals, families, businesses and faith communities.

COVID-19 Update from Mayor Strickland (3-19) Latest information: As we have been doing for the past two weeks, the City of Memphis is taking every precaution necessary to limit the spread of COVID19 through policy, declaration, and direct action.


(DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS COMMISSION NEWS RELEASE) - In response to the growing challenges facing our local restaurants, the City of Memphis and the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) have developed a creative strategy to help the public more easily support these businesses. Together, the City of Memphis and the DMC have identified and bagged meters throughout Downtown to serve as temporary parking for curbside pick-up and take-out.

“Accessible Curbside Pick Up is going to be a lifeline for not only our Downtown Restaurants,” says DMC Board Chair and Majestic Grille owner, Deni Reilly, “but will enable our community to continue to receive restaurant-quality meals to enjoy at home with their families.”

Staring Tuesday, March 17, 2020, City Engineering and the DMC bagged 50 meters and identified another 15 spaces in multi-space zones throughout Downtown to be temporarily designated as spaces for pick-up and take-out orders from local restaurants.

"We are so grateful to have a City administration committed to fast-action and solutions," said Jennifer Oswalt, DMC president and CEO. "We are thankful for their partnership and leadership."

The DMC will continue to work in the best interest of our community and to support our local government in their efforts to deter the spread of COVID-19. We will also continue our support of our local businesses as we all navigate these unprecedented challenges.

We encourage you to do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn more here.

Downtown Memphis Restaurants – Take-out/Pick-Up/Delivery
Current Participating Restaurant List

RELATED: Shelby County Mayor issues declaration of local state of emergency for COVID-19

RELATED: A growing list of things are closed, postponed or cancelled in Memphis and the Mid-South

RELATED: State of emergency declared for city of Memphis

Before You Leave, Check This Out