Mayor Harris issues new mask guidelines for county-owned facilities

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mask up if you are planning to enter any Shelby County government buildings starting Tuesday morning.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris took to social media to make the announcement to try and stop the spread of the contagious Delta variant.

Mayor Harris tweeted the mask mandate will last for the month of August and can be renewed.

County Commissioner Van Turner, chairman of the health committee, told FOX13 he supports the mayor.  Commissioner Turner said, “We are in a mission-critical stage now. We have to start enacting things to address what is going on.”

Turner told FOX13 the county government building mask mandate is needed because new COVID-19 cases are on the increase, according to data from the Shelby County Public Health Department.  

“The numbers are going up. So the mask mandate is something we need to do,” said Turner.

But other suburban governments within Shelby County are not following suit.  FOX13 reached out to Germantown, Collierville, Arlington, Bartlett, and Millington.  In those municipalities, masks are recommended but optional. Turner said he hopes to convince those local governments to enact similar policies like Shelby County, at least for public buildings. 

“This variant doesn’t understand that there are borderlines between Memphis and Collierville and Bartlett. We do, but the Delta variant doesn’t.  Therefore I would hope that our brothers and sisters throughout the entire county and the other municipals will enact a similar mask mandate,” said Turner.

Turner wants to reach out to business leaders and ask them to enact a mask mandate for its customers. A spokesman for the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce sent FOX13 a statement.  It reads in part, “… we believe in the health department and government requirements regarding face masks and believe every business should make its own decision while keeping in the best interest of customers, employees, and community.”

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