Shelby County enters Phase 2 of reopening today, officials say

The Shelby County Health Department announced that it will be entering the second phase of ‘Back to Business’ today.

According to the news release,

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"Based on the four criteria the COVID-19 Joint Task Force has been monitoring, including the growth in new cases, health care systems capacity, public health system capacity, and testing capacity, the Task Force has made the decision to begin Phase II of the Back to Business plan today.

The Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said the community is in part to thank for the next step to open up businesses.

“I am grateful for the hard work and many sacrifices of the residents of Shelby County. We have seen encouraging results because of a collective willingness to do all that we can to reduce the spread and embrace new skills, like social distancing. Although we still have a long way to go in Shelby County's fight against COVID-19, we have made substantial progress and are therefore prepared to enter Phase 2. We all played a role in getting to this important mile marker. We all have a role to play to get to the next one.” –Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris

RELATED: Are Memphis & Shelby County ready for Phase Two of the Back to Business plan?

The Memphis mayor also released a statement that said the data supported the decision.

“Over the last 14 days, we’ve been closely monitoring the data,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “Based on the opinion of our medical experts, we are ready to move to Phase ll of our Back-to Business plan allowing more Memphians back to work in a safer way.”—City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland

With the movement into the second phase, more restrictions are being lifted.

Contact sports facilities (basketball courts, baseball fields, etc. will be able to “open following guidance on maximum number of individuals for groups. Employees with interaction with the public must wear face masks; all other employees must wear face masks.”

Gyms can now operate with 50 percent capacity.

Restaurants will still only be allowed to operate at 50 percent.

Businesses like nail salons, tattoo shops, bowling alleys and others are getting ready to open their doors.

One tattoo shop in Memphis said it plans to start taking clients very soon. Several artists at The Tattoo Spot off South Highland said they are ready to get back to work.

They said they were surprised the health department made the announcement so quickly.

Kati Timmerman for several few weeks she’s worried about her finances but what hurts even more is not being able to see her clients.

“I miss being able to put people’s vision onto their body and helping them express themselves,” she said.

More on the coronavirus

The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt all across the Mid-South where new cases are being announced every day and new steps are being taken to help limit the spread. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.

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