New health directive highly recommending masks due to Delta Variant dominance in the county

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department issued Health Order No. 24, effective Aug. 3 at noon until Aug. 31.

The new directive includes recent guidance from the CDC that applies to areas like Shelby County, where the Delta variant is dominant and where a high level of transmission is occurring, a release said.

The directive said you should wear masks in the following:

  • You are aged 2 or older and not fully vaccinated and you are in an indoor public place.
  • You are in an outdoor setting that involves close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • You are in any indoor setting open to the public, regardless of whether you are vaccinated.
  • You have a condition or are taking medications that weakens your immune system in such a manner that you may not be protected even if you are fully vaccinated (unless your healthcare provider advises you not to wear a mask).

The new directive also includes:

  • Updated links to CDC guidance on vaccines and masks;
  • New section on “Vaccinations and Testing,” strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated if they are eligible and strongly encouraging employers to require regular COVID-19 testing for all unvaccinated employees, including those who are asymptomatic;
  • Highly recommends masks in all indoor settings that are open to the public regardless of whether you are vaccinated; and
  • Highly recommends masks in other circumstances that conform with CDC guidance for areas with high transmission rates (i.e., Shelby County).

Health Order No. 24 may be viewed online:

Tuesday afternoon Memphis City Council unanimously passed a resolution asking the Shelby County Health Department to reissue the county-wide mask mandate that was loosened to follow federal guidelines in May. The health department lifted most COVID-19 restrictions back in early June.

The department’s original county-wide mask mandate began in July 2020.

Tennessee never had a statewide mask mandate.