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Shelby County Mayor issues executive order halting in-site dining at restaurants/bars, closing gyms

Shelby County has a total of 30 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 3/20/2020 - Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris has issued an executive order, temporarily halting on-site dining in restaurants, bars, and closing gyms in unincorporated Shelby County. 

(NEWS RELEASE) - Today the Health Department reported 30 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Shelby County. For this reason, Mayor Lee Harris, along with all the municipalities in Shelby County, has prepared an Executive Order to require the closure for on-site dining at restaurants, and on-premises consumption at bars, and other food and beverage establishments in unincorporated Shelby County, Tennessee. The Executive Order will go into effect Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 6:00am for unincorporated Shelby County. The Executive Order does not apply to delivery, takeout and drive-thru establishments.

Mayor Lee Harris: “The municipal mayors and I have worked together to take action to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus and protect public health. New cases and other available data suggest we have entered a new phase with potential community spread and transmission. The temporary closure of eating establishments is important as it will support and encourage social distance. The support and collaboration among our municipal leadership is critical in protecting the public health and safety of community. As with this decision to temporarily close restaurants, it is critical that our municipal leaders continue to work together.”

The Executive Order does not apply to stores, supermarkets, offices or other non-eating businesses. However, Shelby County Health Department and the Center for Disease and Control strongly recommends that no more than 10 people gather in one place.

RELATED: There are now 30 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Shelby County

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

RELATED: Collierville mayor declares state of emergency; closing indoor seating at restaurants/bars, gyms, and theater

RELATED: City of Southaven suspends in person business inside City Hall until further notice

RELATED: Germantown mayor declares state of emergency due to COVID-19


3/19/2020 - Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris has issued a declaration of a local state of emergency for the county due to COVID-19.

This comes as the county health department reported six new cases Thursday, bringing the total to 10 in the county.

Below is the statement from the mayor’s office:

“On March 19, 2020, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris signed a declaration of Local State of Emergency to help contain and mitigate COVID-19 from spreading in Shelby County. This action comes after the Shelby County Health Department reported ten positive cases of COVID-19.  

Mayor Lee Harris: “We are taking this public event seriously and every day, taking steps to mitigate the negative public health consequences. This emergency declaration is part of those preparatory efforts. This declaration will put our county in a posture to receive vital aid to mitigate the effects of the novel coronavirus, if and when such aid becomes available.”  

RELATED: There are now 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Shelby County

RELATED: Shelby County launches online resource offering local information on COVID-19

RELATED: State of emergency declared for city of Memphis


Below is the order: 



WHEREAS, This Executive Order to Declare a State of Emergency, is made by the Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare; and 

WHEREAS, Based on information and data, the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-coV-2 virus that can result in mild or severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and can lead to serious illness or death, particularly in the case of older adults and persons with serious chronic medical conditions; and   

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is frequently spread through close contact between persons and respiratory transmissions; and 

WHEAREAS, On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic; and   WHEREAS, On March 19, 2020 there have been ten (10) confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County; and 

WHEREAS,  In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Shelby County, it is in the public interest that a Local State of Emergency be declared by the Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee pursuant to authority of Tenn. Code Ann. § 58-8-104, Tenn. Code Ann. § 58-2-110(3) (A), and such other authority granted by law vested in the Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. 

NOW THEREFORE, I, Lee Harris, Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me, do hereby direct and order the following: 

 1.  A State of Emergency is hereby declared for the area within Shelby County, Tennessee.  

 2. The duration of this state of emergency will commence March 19, 2020 and continue until March 26, 2020 or until rescinded but shall be limited to seven (7) days unless it is necessary to extend it by Executive Order for additional seven (7) day increments as permitted by law. 

 3. As authorized by Tenn. Code Ann. § 58-2-110(3)(A), Shelby County Government will: 

  • a. As necessary, appropriate and expend funds; make contracts; obtain and distribute equipment, materials, and supplies for emergency management purposes; provide for the health and safety of persons and property, including emergency assistance to the victims of any emergency; and direct and coordinate the development of emergency management plans and programs in accordance with the policies and plans set by the federal and state emergency management agencies; 
  • b. As necessary, appoint, employ, remove, or provide, with or without compensation, coordinators, rescue teams, fire and police personnel, and other emergency management workers; 
  • c. If deemed necessary and in addition to the primary emergency operating center, establish one or more secondary emergency operating centers to provide continuity of government and direction and control of emergency operations; 
  • d. Request state assistance or, as needed, invoke emergency-related mutual-aid assistance in the event of an emergency affecting another political subdivision. It may be extended, as necessary, in seven-day increments.  

FURTHER, All agencies, departments and divisions of Shelby County Government shall discharge their responsibilities as deemed necessary for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare consistent with the provisions of this Declaration of a Local State of Emergency. 

FURTHER, As the County Executive of Shelby County, Tennessee, I, Lee Harris, exercise the authority given me under Title 58 of the Tennessee Code to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, wellbeing, and health of the citizens of this County. 

I hereby direct all departments and agencies of Shelby County to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure, and provide such emergency assistance deemed necessary.  

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, By authority vested in me, I have here unto set my hand and signed this Executive Order this 19th day of March, 2020. 

- Lee Harris Mayor of Shelby County