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Public Health Directive


Pursuant to the Declarations of a State of Emergency by Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and the Necessity of a Communicable Disease Control Threat Procedure by the Shelby County Health Department

TO: Residents, Visitors, and Owners/Operators of Services, Facilities, and/or Businesses in Shelby County, Tennessee

FROM: Lee Harris, Shelby County Mayor

Bruce Randolph, M.D., M.P.H, Shelby County Health Officer

LaSonya Harris Hall, M.H.A., Ph.D., Interim Director

RE: Public Health Announcement on COVID-19 Response

Directive 19: Summary of Changes

• Release date of March 17, 2021 (effective March 20, 2021 at 12:01 am).

• Increase in number of people at tables to 8 instead of 6.

• Persons seated together must be of the same family unit or close contact group.

• Bartenders are encouraged to wear a face shield or double mask while serving multiple groups at the bar, but are not required to do so.

• Operating hours for dine-in service ends at 1 am (customers may stay until 1:30 to complete meal/payment arrangements).

• Two hour limit for food service is removed.

• Any location that serves beer or alcohol must serve food as required by state law (and have a permit to do so).

• Removes the requirement of maintaining contact tracing records.

Face Mask Directive No. 5 Summary of Changes:

• Medical or procedure grade masks are recommended but not required; coverings which are made of suitable layered fabrics are acceptable but scarves, ski masks, and balaclavas are not substitutes for masks.

• Persons who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering are not required to wear a face shield, and no person declining to wear a face covering because of a medical condition is required to produce verifying medical documentation.

Services and/or Businesses – Requests for Health Department Review of Safety Measures and/or Protocols:

Public Health Directive

FACE MASK DIRECTIVE NO. 5 March 17, 2021


On February 28, 2021, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, noted that the country is seeing a decline in new coronavirus cases and an improvement in the vaccination rate, but Dr. Fauci warned states not to prematurely loosen pandemic restrictions, a move which could lead to another surge in infections. This is a risk because no one is sure of how the multiple variants will impact the number of cases and how well the vaccines can protect us against these variants. Until there is more information about those issues, effective infection control measures remain our best defense.    

Federal, state, and local public health officials have attempted to encourage, and at times mandate, appropriate responses to the pandemic in order to save lives while also considering economic consequences. In Shelby County, we have experienced two waves, one in July and the other in December, and we have recently reached more manageable numbers. However, we are still in the pandemic and it is not over yet. Until enough Shelby County residents are vaccinated to reach herd immunity, we must continue to be vigilant and maintain the preventative measures that have served us well thus far. If we stay the course, we can avoid a third wave. The Department continues to urge everyone to consider personal responsibility for self and community as the ultimate measure of how this deadly disease will fully impact Shelby County and surrounding communities. 

This Directive provides certain restrictions on the ability to return to work and engage in activities. It is intended to be a guide toward developing and adopting safe practices for people and businesses that will slow and end the transmission of COVID-19, which continues to be a direct and deadly threat to people in Shelby County, Tennessee. During this time of cold weather, there may be a greater desire to gather indoors with persons who are not of the same household without wearing face masks, and without social distancing. These circumstances present the highest risk of the transmission of the virus and can have deadly consequences. The more steps you and your family take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the safer you and others will be.

This Directive provides the following guidance:

1) Safety Measures for Individuals;

2) Safety Measures for all Services and Businesses; and

3) Safety Measures for Services and Businesses that require in-person interaction with the public or those that otherwise regularly welcome non-employees into their place of business.

1) Safety Measures for Individuals:

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, sneeze, or sing. There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19, while not wearing a mask, may have infected others who are more than 6 feet away. The virus may also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth, or eyes, causing infection. Therefore, the important personal practices to prevent the virus’s spread are:

• Wear a cloth face covering or mask as required and explained in the Face Mask Directive No.5 over your nose and mouth when in public settings, such as while using public/mass transportation, while outside your home in indoor spaces, and anywhere you will be around other people.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Limiting close contact with others not of our household.

• Maintain at least 6-feet of distance from people not of your household.

• Avoid crowds and enclosed spaces that have inadequate ventilation.

• Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer (≥60% alcohol).

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

• Get tested for the virus that causes COVID-19.

• Get vaccinated (when available) against the virus that causes COVID-19.

• Cooperate with the Department on contact tracing and case investigation.

• If you test positive for COVID-19, you must report this information to the Department by calling 901-222-MASK (which is 901-222-6275) or by faxing the information to 901-222-8249. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must notify those who are known to have been in contact with them and otherwise comply with the Department on case investigations. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate in accordance with CDC Guidance pertaining to isolation:

• If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 you must quarantine in accordance with CDC Guidance pertaining to quarantine:

• Stay at home when possible and limit unnecessary activity.

• Be aware of the need to take extra precautions to protect those who are more vulnerable to the virus (such as elderly people).

• Avoid using communal items and products that are shared with people who are not of the same household (such as condiment containers and work-related devices). 


All persons age 16 and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.


All persons age 18 and older are eligible to receive the Moderna and Johnson/Janssen vaccine. 


We strongly recommend that everyone get vaccinated as soon as possible.


2) Safety Measures for all Services and Businesses

The following safety measures must be in place for services and businesses to remain open or to reopen.

• Cooperate with health authorities’ efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.

• Comply with all federal and state business COVID-19 safety requirements, whether industry-specific or not, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.

• Place prominent informational signs at entrances and high-traffic areas (such as entrances and restroom areas) to educate and encourage a partnership of safety for businesses and the public.

Signs must meet the requirements and safety guidelines outlined by the CDC at

o Signs must state that masks are required within the business as provided for in the Face Mask Directive No.5 and in accordance with CDC Guidance.

o Signs must state that employees, patrons, and all others must not enter if they are sick or currently have signs or symptoms of COVID-19. See, for example:

• Ensure proper ventilation in all indoor areas of any business location.

• Require all employees, customers and visitors to wear a mask or cloth face covering pursuant to the Face Mask Directive No.5.

• Continue promoting frequent and thorough handwashing by providing workers, customers, and visitors a place to wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer at or near entrances to a facility and other high-traffic areas. It is strongly encouraged that CDC handwashing guides be placed in all bathrooms and near any handwashing sink as described at

• Clean and sanitize all drinking fountains when in use and encourage customers, staff, or attendees of any event to bring their own water, as feasible, to minimize the use of water fountains.

• Require workers to stay home if they are sick pursuant to the following CDC guidance:

“How to Protect Yourself and Others”:

“What to Do if You are Sick”:

• Perform health screenings for fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater) or other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 at the start of each employee’s shift so that no employee may not enter any workplace if he or she answers “yes” to any of the following questions:

1. Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?

2. Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?

3. Have you felt feverish or had a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater in the last 48 hours?

4. Have you had new loss of taste or smell?

5. Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?

Employees who answer “yes” to any of these screening questions should be directed to leave the premises immediately and seek medical care and/or COVID-19 testing. Employees may self-validate (to their supervisor) their status at the beginning of each shift in lieu of their employer conducting the health screening.

• Report to the Department any employee who has had contact with a person who tests or has tested positive for COVID-19 to notify the Department by calling 901-222-MASK (which is 901-222-6275) or by faxing the information to 901-222-8249. For employers needing after-hours assistance, please call 901-232-4036.

• If an employer is informed that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the area(s) where the employee worked should be closed for cleaning and disinfecting pursuant to CDC and OSHA guidance:

“Worker Safety and Support”:

“Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19”:

• Develop a plan on how to communicate with customers/patrons if they are exposed to someone (such as an employee or another patron) who tests positive for COVID-19.

• As determined by the employer and where feasible, allow employees to work from home or permit flexible worksites and hours (including staggered shifts) to increase physical distancing among and between employees.

• Discourage workers from using other employee’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. When this is not possible, sanitizers should be used both prior to use of communal items and immediately after, and care should be taken not to touch the face.

• Increase regular housekeeping practices for all areas, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, high-touch surfaces, work areas, break rooms, bathrooms, common areas, and any other areas of the work environment.

• Limit the number of people who can enter a facility at any time to no more than the number of people that can easily maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from each other at all times, except when necessary to complete a business transaction such as payment or delivery of goods.

• Lessors of Residential Properties. Property owners, landlords, or their hired agents must distribute the following notice concurrently with the service of process of a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action (or Summons and Complaint) to any individual against whom an FED or other eviction action is filed. The notice must state:

“If you or anyone in your household are currently quarantined or are in isolation due to COVID-19 and are unable to secure housing at this time, please notify the Shelby County Health Department by calling 901-222-MASK (which is 901-222-6275) or by faxing the information to 901-222-8249. Temporary housing support may be available.”

3. Safety Measures for Services and Businesses that require in-person interaction with the public or those who otherwise regularly welcome non-employees into their place of business

(The following measures are required in addition to the requirements listed above for all businesses.)

• Implement contactless transactions where feasible.

• Ensure customers are wearing masks prior to entering the establishment. This includes grocery/retail stores, gyms/fitness centers, and other services providers. Customers and employees must wear masks in accordance with the Face Mask Directive No. 5.

• Indicate where lines may form at a facility, marking 6-foot increments as guides for where individuals should stand to maintain social distancing.

• Configure use of registers to allow for 6-foot spacing between customers.

• Consider installing plexiglass barriers at registers and other employee/customer points of contact.

• If gloves are used by employees, replace them whenever an employee washes his/her hands or whenever gloves become contaminated with a foreign substance. Do not reuse disposable gloves.

• Businesses should prohibit indoor smoking or vaping due to the risk of airborne transmission of the virus. Any indoor smoking that is allowed must comply with Tennessee law on age, time, and place requirements.

• For table service, do not allow groups larger than 8 guests to be served together as a “family unit” and require 1) each group to maintain a distance of 6-feet from all other groups and 2) everyone to continue to wear a mask unless seated and actively dining (eating/drinking). Please see additional provisions below for dining and use of bar tops.

• Place signs on “closed” fixed seating or equipment to allow patrons to readily determine how to seat themselves with sufficient social distancing.

• Encourage the use of outdoor space for the provision of services, where practical. Restaurants in particular are encouraged to provide outdoor dining.

• Where businesses expand their seating capacity by adding tents or other structures outside (including patios), they must comply with any existing local or state permit and regulatory requirements so that pedestrian access is not restricted and safety impediment are not created. Any expanded seating capacity covered by a tent or other structure over the customers’ heads must also comply with all applicable indoor services requirements of this Directive. If a tent/structure is used for expanded seating capacity that accommodates more than one group, at least two sides of the tent/structure shall remain open for cross-ventilation.

• Prevent the communal use of items and products, including, for example, eating or writing utensils, store bags, condiment containers, and buffets. All menus or service literature should be disposable, single-patron usage, and/or accessible by personal electronic devices (e.g., internet website, QR Code, etc.).

• Clean any shared equipment with disinfecting wipes before and after each use. Shared equipment that cannot be cleaned in between use is not allowed.

• Regularly clean with disinfectant high-touch areas, such as elevator buttons, door handles, and counters.

• Use best efforts to make accommodations for one-way traffic flow and/or specific entrances and exits if the layout of the establishment is such that ingress/egress would often prompt encounters of less than 6 feet.

• Communal showers and locker rooms should be closed. Enclosed, individual showers that are separated are permitted to remain opened. Restrooms should remain open with regular cleaning and disinfection as required for high-contact areas. Facilities that would normally require changing clothes prior to using their services should encourage all patrons to change prior to coming to the facility; where this is not practical, facilities may allow for a changing area.

• Hot tubs should be closed.

• Live music and other performers shall maintain at least 18-feet of separation—and more if possible—between audience members and the performer(s) (this includes, for example, vocalists, singers, musicians, and dancers). Thus, seating and spacing modifications should be adopted to increase physical distances by at least 18-feet between any observer and any performer. Install barriers to minimize travel of aerosolized particles between performers or maximize physical spacing between performers on-stage by at least 6-feet unless barriers are used. Dancing by customers should not be allowed unless it occurs outdoors and dancers maintain 6-feet separation from those who are not of the same family unit or close contact group.

• Any music (live or aired) must be kept at a decibel level that permits regular conversation. In other words, the noise level should not be so great as to cause customers to raise their voices to be heard.

• Daycare and Childcare businesses may operate, provided that they implement screening procedures, develop safe drop-off and pickup procedures, ensure additional steps are taken to enhance personal hygiene of employees, (including wearing face coverings that cover the nose and mouth), and provide regular sanitization efforts within the facilities themselves. Activities that occur at any of these businesses must follow any applicable safety measures outlined in the current Health Directive and should follow any guidance or protocols recommended by the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Education, and the CDC.

• Schools, School Systems, Colleges and Universities, through their governing boards and presidents, retain sole responsibility in making decisions on providing instruction to their students while protecting the health and safety of their students, faculty, and staff. Nothing in this Directive should be construed to stipulate or require campuses to open or close. In all cases, colleges and universities should consult the guidance issued by OSHA, the CDC, and the State of Tennessee as well as considerations outlined by the American College of Health Association:

“CDC indicators and thresholds for risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in schools”:

Operating schools during COVID-19: CDC’s Considerations:

“Colleges, Universities, and Higher Learning”:

“Higher Education Guidelines”:

When there is the occurrence of a single confirmed COVID-19 infection at child care facilities, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, or other in-person learning facilities, the leadership of the learning facility shall contact and coordinate with the Department to identify parents, students, and staff who are risk. Once identified, child care facilities, schools, colleges/universities, and other learning facilities should notify the Department, parents, students, and staff who are at risk within 12 hours. Further, updates to the Department, parents, students, and staff at risk should be provided by schools, at a minimum, on a weekly basis. In the updates, schools and other in-person learning facilities shall include information on mitigating actions implemented to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission, including if normal operations in the buildings or facility will be altered. 

• The Shelby County Government Division of Corrections shall follow all safety precautions as stated in any executive order by Mayor Lee Harris.

• Detention facilities: If not already established, facility administrators should adopt protocols that house new detainees separately from the inmate population in order to properly screen and care for the new inmate until such time as the new inmate can safely be placed in the same environment with the existing inmate population. If any detained person is released on their own recognizance (ROR) or makes bond, they should be provided with a copy of the current “Shelby County Health Order and Directive” and instructed to follow that directive upon release. Additionally, they shall be provided information (6th grade reading level) about COVID-19 and “How to Protect Yourself and Others” issued by the CDC:

Nothing in this Directive is intended to delay or impede the release of detained individuals if they are eligible to be released.

• The State of Tennessee has developed statewide guidelines for certain types of establishments/activities. Each type of establishments/activity is required to follow all applicable state recommended guidelines located online (and referenced below) and any additional guidelines set forth below. To the extent that any state recommended guidance listed below is different from this Directive, this Directive controls

1. Full-Service Restaurants, Limited Service Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Beer Pubs, Wine Bars, Taprooms, Cigar/Hookah Lounges, or other businesses that have a Shelby County food permit (regardless of whether they serve/sell alcoholic beverages or allow customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages (BYOB) for onsite consumption)

Or other businesses that have a Shelby County food permit 

(regardless of whether they serve/sell alcoholic beverages or allow customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages (BYOB) for onsite consumption). Please visit:

 Any business that does not have a permit (or license) to sell food or alcoholic beverages for onsite consumption cannot allow customers to engage in the onsite consumption of food or alcoholic beverages, respectively.

• Must require their customers to be seated while eating or drinking.

• All indoor and outdoor seating must be separated 6 feet apart and arranged so that each person seated at one table must be separated 6 feet from other persons seated at another table.

• Must serve food in compliance with state law (and have any required permit to do so) if alcohol is consumed onsite by any customer(s).

• Must require their customers to wear a mask at all times except for when the customer is seated and actively dining (eating/drinking).

• No more than 8 guests may be seated at the same table, and they must be of the same family unit or close-contact group.

• Any person at one table cannot be within 6 feet distance from any person at another table.

• For bar service, bar seats must be fixed and limited to no more than two seats (i.e., two people) and each set of two seats must be separated 6-feet from each other. Any customer at a bar must be seated and must continue to wear a mask unless seated and actively dining (eating/drinking). Any server/bartender assisting customers at a bar must wear a mask. Additionally, it is recommended that they also wear a face shield or a double mask at all times to reduce the heightened risk of prolonged exposure to the many people who are not wearing a mask while receiving service at the bar.

• Standing, gathering, or ordering at a bar is not allowed.

• Dancing is not permitted indoors.

• Businesses should prohibit indoor smoking or vaping due to the risk of airborne transmission of the virus. Any indoor smoking that is allowed must comply with Tennessee law on age, time, and place requirements.

• All food and beverage service shall end at 1:00 am. This means that any guests who are already receiving service at 1:00 am may remain there until 1:30 am to complete payment arrangements but may not be served food or beverages after 1:00 am.

• If properly permitted by local and state law, any curb-side, drive-thru, or delivery services may continue, but any such sales of alcoholic beverages must end at 1:00 am.

• Only staff needed to close, open, clean, or operate curb-side/delivery services shall be in any establishment between the hours of 1:30 am and 5:00 am.

By way of example, these restrictions apply to limited and full-service restaurants, clubs, bowling alleys, adult entertainment businesses that are only open to people 18 and over, club houses, family entertainment businesses, and any other establishments that allow for on-site seated dining.

2. Large-scale festivals, fairs, parades, sporting events, and community events 

cannot occur unless the Department has approved a site-specific plan for the event. 

3. Multi-Person Biking or Carriage Vehicles 

must adhere to the following conditions in addition all other safety measures contained in this Directive:

• Customers should not consume beer or alcohol while riding, and “stops” should not be made for patrons to consume beer or alcohol while touring on the bikes/carriages.

• Operators must adhere to all applicable business safety measures in the Directive.

• Drivers/operators and customers must be required to wear face coverings or masks while riding on the bikes.

• Customers must not be permitted to yell and sing loudly.

• Only groups of no more than 8 people from the same family unit or close contact group are allowed to ride together.

• Bike and carriage operators must maintain at least twelve (12) feet separation between the bikes/carriages and people who are walking nearby or dining outdoors.

4. Recreational Facilities:

5. Exercise Facilities:

Individuals should also refer to the CDC’s guidance on “Using Gyms, Fitness Centers, or Studios”:

6. Salons, Barbershops, and Nail Salons 

And other personal appearance businesses that require close contact between patrons and employees:

7. County Courts and Court Buildings: 

All county courts and county buildings where courts are located must follow the guidelines established by the Tennessee Supreme Court, which can be found at: Also, as set forth above, these additional restrictions must be followed:

• All employers or officials who oversee employees must comply with all applicable businesses and services safety measures contained in this Directive.

• It is Shelby County Government’s prerogative to implement health checks and screening protocols for visitors to any County building and to utilize proctors throughout the building to ensure that this Directive and the Face Mask Directive are followed.

• Court dockets should be restricted or scheduled so that the requirements of this Directive are met.

• The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), as is already the case, is responsible for maintaining security in the courthouse, including courtrooms and common areas. Governmental entities that have employees at the courthouse are responsible for ensuring that all of their employees or contractors comply with this Directive and the Face Mask Directive. Security assistance may be requested of SCSO if anyone in the building refuses to comply with the Directive or Face Mask Directive.

• The Department may close all or part of the courthouse if 1) safety measures are not observed or 2) if current conditions present an increased public health risk within the buildings where courts are housed until such time as appropriate safety measures are practiced or implemented.

8. Long Term Care Facilities and Assisted Living Centers:

The Department shall have unrestricted access to the facility where such access is determined necessary by the Department for purposes of investigating COVID-19 cases and testing all personnel for COVID-19, and in such circumstances, the operator and administrator shall cooperate fully to facilitate such testing. Any positive test result shall be reported to the Department of Health by 5:00 p.m. of the day following receipt of such test result. Consistent with CDC guidance, facilities must inform residents and their representatives within 12 hours of the occurrence of 1) a single confirmed infection of COVID-19 or 2) three or more residents or staff with new-onset of respiratory symptoms that occur within 72 hours. Updates to residents and their representatives must be provided weekly and after each subsequent time a confirmed infection of COVID-19 is identified or whenever three or more residents or staff with new onset of respiratory symptoms occurs within 72 hours. Facilities will include information on mitigating actions implemented to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission including whether normal operations in the facility will be altered.

9. Sporting/Team Events and Activities. 

Please review more specific guidance just below these additional general requirements:

• Coaches, school officials, and sponsors of any of sports/team event or activity must: 1) cooperate with the Department and provide names and contact information of participants or staff who may have been a contact with a COVID-19 case and 2) report to the Department any participant or staff who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has had contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 by calling 901-222-MASK (which is 901-222-6275) or by faxing the information to 901-222-8249.

• Schools are strongly encouraged to suspend all school-related close-contact sports at this time.

• Indoor or outdoor sporting events that involve the likelihood that visitors will engage in increased vocalization, such as yelling, cheering, singing, or speaking loudly, must be separated at least 6-feet apart and must wear face coverings consistent with the Face Mask Directive. Family units/groups of no more than 8 guests may sit together, but no member of one group can be within 6 feet of any member of another group.

• All locations where events/activities occur must continue to abide by the requirements set forth in this Directive.

Grade 6-12 School-Sponsored Sporting Events and Activities:

Local education agencies and schools shall comply with Governor Lee’s executive orders regard school sports and activities, and notwithstanding any orders or provisions to the contrary, have the authority to permit, but are not required to permit, school-sponsored sporting events and activities, provided that all such activities, including practices and games or competition, must be conducted in a manner consistent with COVID-19-related regulations adopted by the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

Schools are strongly encouraged to suspend all school-related close-contact sports at this time.

Non-School-Sponsored Athletics:

These athletic activities (including practices and games/competition) may take place as permitted by the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group (i.e., Tennessee Pledge) and provided that all such activities are conducted in a manner consistent with COVID-19 related regulations adopted by Tennessee Pledge, including any additional state guidance.

Collegiate and Professional Sporting Events and Activities: must be conducted pursuant to the rules or guidelines of their respective governing bodies.

Scholastic and Other Organized Teams: If none of the aforementioned guidance applies, teams must follow guidance established by the National Federation of State High School Associations set forth at and any requirements set forth in this Directive.

10. Religious Services. 

Nothing in this Directive mandates closure of a place of worship or prohibits weddings or funerals as a matter of law. Places of worship are strongly encouraged to continue to utilize virtual or online services and gatherings, and are strongly encouraged to follow guidelines as issued by the State of Tennessee’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives regarding any in-person services that can be conducted safely. Further, it is strongly encouraged that the public celebration component of weddings and funerals be postponed or attended only by close family members and that all safety precautions in this Directive are followed, including wearing cloth face coverings. Any modification by the State of Tennessee to this provision must also be followed.

Please contact the Department if you require technical assistance regarding any safety parameters.

Nothing in this order restricts the ability of the Department to take targeted action against specific businesses where COVID-19 outbreaks or clusters occur (or may occur) under the Department’s longstanding authority to control disease outbreaks. The Department always seeks to provide education and technical assistance to all businesses before taking any action that disrupts the business, but in the event that any business refuses to comply with current safety measures by creating an unsafe environment for the public, the Department must take action, including and up to a closure of the establishment. When this occurs, the business will be asked to submit a safety reopening plan for review and approval prior to being allowed to resume operations. The review of the reopening plan, re-inspection of the facility, and approval of the plan may take up to 14 days after closure. In addition to closure, a non-compliant business may lose any state or local licenses or permits that allow them to serve the public. A civil or criminal citation may be imposed against an individual and/or an establishment for creating acts that cause any environment to be unsafe to residents and visitors in the community.

The goal is safety while balancing the needs of citizens to receive the necessities of life, i.e., food and shelter, allowing people to work in a safe manner, and further ensuring the availability of resources to the community. Every effort should be made by individuals, businesses and services to take steps to stop the spread of this deadly disease. These actions are meant to protect everyone. 

Requirement to Collect Demographic Data

Any health care provider located in Shelby County, Tennessee that provides COVID-19 testing or clinical care shall provide to the Department, as requested by the Department, demographic data regarding individuals tested or cared for by the provider. Such data shall be in such forms, formats and/or schedules that the Department will reasonably specify to the provider by written guidelines, including by way of example and without limitation the following data: gender, race, ethnicity, date of birth or other indicia of age, and such other demographic-based clinical information that the Department deems relevant and necessary to respond to and serve the needs of Shelby County related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Your Right of Review

If you feel this Directive has been issued in error, you may request a review by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tim Jones, for the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), or his designee, at (615) 741-3111. Dr. Jones, or a designee, will review your request within five (5) business days of its receipt, and you will receive a decision in writing. You may also request that the TDH obtain a court order containing the provisions of this Directive. If you request this option, the TDH will take the matter to an available and appropriate court of record. Please be aware you are still required to abide by all of the provisions contained in this Health Directive during any review process. A copy of the rules setting forth the Health Directive procedure and related rights is available on the Shelby County Health Department website.  


Pursuant to the emergency management authority vested in Shelby County, Tennessee, for coordination of relief efforts in the event of a countywide emergency that may result in substantial injury or harm to the population, and the necessity to respond to public health emergencies vested in the Shelby County Public Health Department (“the Department”), this Health Order and Directive (“Directive”) is being issued to protect the public health for all citizens and businesses in Shelby County, Tennessee. This Directive incorporates by reference the Shelby County Face Mask Directive No. 5 (“Face Mask Directive”), issued March 17, 2021, and together, both documents supersede all other written or oral Health Directives. Both documents are located here:

1) Health Directive:,

2) Face Mask Directive:; and

3) For FAQs and contact tracing information, click here.

Approved and adopted by:







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