New health directive lifts almost all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The latest health directive issued Wednesday by the Shelby County Health Department lifts almost all of the prior restrictions on businesses, details the very limited circumstances where masks are required, and recommends COVID-19 vaccination for everyone eligible.

Health Directive No. 22 will go into effect at midnight on June 12th.

The changes can be made at this time because metrics indicate vaccination efforts are working to limit the spread of the virus in our community, the health department said.

The health department said more than 70 percent of adults in Shelby County have some level of immunity to the COVID-19 virus, either because they are vaccinated or because they had the virus and have recovered. The average number of reported COVID-19 cases per day is 46 as of June 9. One month ago, that average was 135 per day. The test positivity rate is now 3.6 percent. That means that of all COVID-19 tests, only 3.6 percent are positive.

Key changes in Health Directive No. 22 include:

  • Provides a link to CDC ongoing guidance on what you can safely do if fully vaccinated.
  • Removes references to the authority of private businesses and institutions to require masks as it is their authority to generally manage their facilities and operations.
  • Continues to require individuals and businesses to cooperate with the Department’s long-standing duty to carry out disease prevention measures, such as contact tracing, upon learning of a positive (or symptoms of) a COVID-19 case.
  • Combines all business-related recommendations into one section.
  • Shortens the recommended preventive measures for businesses by eliminating guidance related to physical distancing as businesses are better suited for making site-specific determinations on appropriate spacing due to the increasing number of fully-vaccinated individuals in Shelby County.

Health Directive No. 22 is available to read here.