Celebrate safe and smart this Memorial Day weekend.
That's the message Wednesday from the Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force, which warned the public that the upcoming holiday weekend could lead to unnecessary contact and the potential spread of coronavirus in group settings.
This comes as the health department hustles to hire nearly 150 new positions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic for months to come.
"We are all in this together and now is not the time to let our guard down," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.
That's the message Wednesday as health experts deal with a slight uptick in new COVID-19 cases in recent days.
Now in day three of phase two in the area's Back to Business plan, the Shelby County health department is containing the spread and hiring 141 new positions. That includes new investigation teams of clusters in both assisted living facilities and detention centers.
"This team has expertise in nursing homes. This team has expertise in jails, so that ideally we can reduce the magnitude of an outbreak once one is identified," Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said.
This Memorial Day weekend in Shelby County, while groups of up to 50 people are now allowed to gather with social distancing, health experts offered safety tips.
They remind the public to stay home if you or a family member is sick, go outside if possible - compared to staying inside with others, wear masks when possible around non-family members, and avoid sharing common utensils or drinking pitchers.
"You really don't want to be handling the things that other people have touched. If you can assign a guest or a family member to serve others that would be ideal. Then only one person is touching the serving spoon," Dr. Haushalter said.
Mayor Strickland said Wednesday courtesy crews will spend the holiday weekend at popular area parks to make sure groups follow the rules on size and socially distance. Code enforcement and law enforcement will also respond to specific complaints.