MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Friday in Shelby County, health experts again sounded the alarm to the public about being safe and smart Memorial Day Weekend.
The concern came after a large COVID-19 case spike earlier this week and new data showing family gatherings playing a role in those new cases.
Between parks and picnics, the Memorial Day weekend is expected to be active in Shelby County, the first holiday under phase two of the area's reopening plan. It allows for groups of up to 50 people - with social distancing.
But more freedom potentially brings more risk of COVID-19 spread.
That's why the Shelby County Health Department said to stay home if you or a family member is sick, go outside if possible compared to staying inside, wear masks when possible - especially around non-family members, and avoid sharing common utensils or drinking pitchers.
"Heading into a holiday weekend, we know a lot of our families will want to get together for a cookout or a barbeque or to see each other maybe for the first time in several weeks. We would just advise people to be very cautious," Shelby County Health Department Chief of Epidemiology David Sweat said.
Sweat said Friday caution is especially key for holiday weekend family gatherings.
A large spike in new COVID-19 cases earlier this week - potentially linked to Mother's Day - found 16% of those cases were household clusters.
"We would say please consider not attending that event, because you may have COVID-19 disease, whether you've tested or not, and you may transmit it to your loved ones," Sweat said.
This Memorial Day weekend, courtesy crews will be out at popular Shelby County parks to check on gathering size and social distancing. Code and law enforcement are also on standby to respond to specific complaints.