Shelby County businesses may soon face $50 fine for mask mandate violations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Surging COVID-19 cases have one Shelby County Commissioner proposing a fine for not wearing a mask in public.

“The masks are needed because COVID-19 is real and it has killed thousands of people,” Cherry Echols told FOX13.

Echols is a lifelong Memphian and said she welcomes stricter enforcement on the countywide mask mandate.

“If we are asked to do something then we should abide by it,” said Echols.

RELATED: Shelby County Commission to discuss $50 fine for not wearing a mask in public

During Wednesday’s Shelby County Commission Meeting, commissioners amended a proposed ordinance that originally would have fined customers and businesses $50 for not wearing masks. Now only businesses would be fined.

“We need to respect the fact that people need to work and provide for their families. We need businesses to stay open,” said Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner.

The Shelby County Health Department must present a satisfactory plan of implementation approved by the mayor, sheriff, and the health director before levying any civil fine.

“I think us not doing anything is a true crime. We have to try to do something to assist what’s going on,” said Turner.

The final reading and vote on the mask fine are slated for Monday.