Local mayors say Shelby County restaurants, possibly gyms could be closed soon

WATCH: Local mayors say Shelby County restaurants, possibly gyms could be closed soon

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The mayors of Bartlett and Arlington said the health department will most likely announce that restaurants will shut down and be take out only on Friday.

Both mayors said the health department discussed the possibility Thursday morning in a meeting call.

RELATED: Increasing COVID-19 cases could lead to more business restrictions, SCHD says

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The mayor of Arlington also said gyms will most likely be closed.

The Bartlett and Arlington mayors both told FOX13 they pushed back and asked if the health department would reconsider.

“I’ll be blunt,” said Arlington Mayor Mike Wissman. “I don’t want to see anything closed. I think we learned during the last time this happened that everything is essential whether it’s someone individually, their business or to the community.”

“They look to those of us who have been elected to explain why the decisions are made and why we did certain things and in this case, we are not making that decision,” Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald told FOX13.

Wissman said what’s even more frustrating is the municipal mayors have no control because it’s up to the health department to make and enforce regulations, regulations he believes will hurt the economy.

“These are the type of issues that will divide us all and cause more conflict,” he said.

McDonald suggested shutting down businesses that violate social distancing and the mask mandate instead of all the businesses.

“One of the complaints I’ve heard since April is the people making the decisions are the people not elected by the people,” said McDonald.

During a news conference, the county health officer said the seven-day average case count is increasing which is not good. Dr. Bruce Randolph also said the potential restrictions could last up to 28 days.

“The choices are let you do nothing and let things ride out or you go and close things down. We are trying to find some in between,” said Randolph.

Nothing is set in stone yet but both mayors said they worry the health department will follow through with these restrictions.

“This type of situation our hands are completely tied,” said Wissman. “I’ve said it from the beginning, I’ll say it again today: All I’ve asked for was for consistency throughout this whole thing.”

FOX13 asked the health department if they planned on shutting down restaurants and gyms but a spokesperson said no comments will be made until the formal announcement

The Health Department announcement is expected to be made on Friday or Monday.

During a news conference Tuesday, the Shelby County Health Director hinted she might add more restrictions.

Dr. Alisa Haushaulter said there is a lot of COVID-19 transmission at bars, restaurants, gyms, and small gatherings.

Haushalter said if the first three groups of tripwires are met, the health department will close bars and put restrictions on sports and restaurants.

For this to happen the Memphis-Shelby County area needs to see a seven-day average of 450 cases a day.

Thursday Shelby County hit a record seven-day average of 442.4 cases. The old record was 424.7 on August 1.

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