COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions & Directives
Shelby County Health Department

About This Resource

The Shelby County Health Department is committed to providing our community with the most accurate information about Coronavirus Disease 2019, known as COVID-19. 

This page includes the most current Health Directive from The Shelby County Public Health Department, frequently asked questions, and other resources.
     
Please scroll down the page to read the latest Public Health Directive, or use the menu buttons at the top of the page to navigate. 

FACE MASK ORDER NO. 4  December 21, 2020

PRINTABLE VERSION OF HEALTH DIRECTIVE NO. 16 December 19, 2020

SUMMARY OF HEALTH DIRECTIVE NO. 16  AND FACE MASK ORDER NO. 4

COVID-19 Call Center
833-943-1658 or

901-222-6275
Available to take calls 8:00am-4:30pm Monday-Sunday

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

If you would like the Shelby County Health Department to review a proposal to reopen or expand your business operations in a manner that is not already addressed in the current Health Directive, please do the following:

1) Prepare a plan with proposed safety measures.

2) Make sure that your plan’s provisions do not conflict with the safety measures already included in the Health Directive.

3) Review and incorporate industry specific safety guidance that is provided for by local, state, or federal agencies, such as, for example, guidance from the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

4) Provide a cover letter with the following information: a contact person and their phone number, the general availability of the contact (in the event the Health Department would like to conduct a site visit), and the proposed date for implementing your plan.

5) Send your documents by email to covid@shelbycountytn.gov, or complete this webform (link).

All submissions will be reviewed for purposes of incorporating any substantive changes into the next Health Directive. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to use the requirements and guidance in the health directive as a basis for engaging in businesses, services, and essential activities. 

Public Health Directive

(effective December 26, 2020 at 12:01 am and expiring January 22, 2021 at 11:59 pm)

FORMAL ISSUANCE OF “SAFER AT HOME” HEALTH ORDER AND DIRECTIVE NO. 16

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[1]  

_______________________

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

Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, Shelby County Health Director

RE: Public Health Announcement on COVID-19 Response

_______________________

The spread of COVID-19 in Shelby County is dire. COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising here and across the United States. We all must remain vigilant. We are experiencing increased numbers of new COVID-19 cases and COVID -19 deaths due to gathering indoors without wearing face masks and the lack of social distancing. The changes we have had to make to routines and daily life are extremely hard, but these changes are even more important now and in the future. We must stop the spread of this new and dangerous virus. The more steps you and your family can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the safer you will be. Relying solely on the prospect of receiving a vaccine creates a false sense of security.

The goal of any Directive 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. It is imperative for individuals, businesses, and services to take steps to stop the spread of this deadly disease. As much as possible, residents of Shelby County, Tennessee are strongly urged to remain at home, leaving for essential services only and avoiding public spaces (with the exception of outdoor spaces where there are limited people). Social activities related to entertainment and recreation should be curtailed because they expose everyone to unnecessary risks of spreading COVID-19. The CDC explains that the riskiest behaviors are those that involve not wearing a mask and being less than six feet away from people who are not members of your household for 15 minutes or more.

All gatherings are strongly discouraged. Gatherings include any event or activities unrelated to essential services that bring together groups of individuals outside of their household. 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 were more than 6 feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising. It is thought that 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:

• Wearing a cloth face covering or mask as required and explained in the Face Mask Directive over your nose and mouth when in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere you will be around other people.

• Staying home when sick.

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

• Limiting close contact with others.

• Maintaining at least 6-feet of distance from other people.

• Avoiding crowds and gatherings of people outside of your household.

• Avoiding enclosed spaces that have inadequate ventilation.

• Frequently washing hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer (60% alcohol).

• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.

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

• Isolating (if you test positive) or Quarantining (if you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19).

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

For the period beginning December 26, 2020, at 12:01 am, to January 22, 2021, at 11:59 pm:

1) All residents are strongly urged to shelter at home (“Safer at Home”) as much as possible.

2) All owners and operators of businesses and services must cooperate with health authorities’ efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.

3) Employers should ask non-essential employees to stay home and implement telecommuting practices as much as feasible.

4) Employers shall not allow any employee to come to a workplace if the employee has any symptoms of COVID-19.

5) Residents and visitors should avoid participating in gatherings with people who are not members of their household.

6) All previously approved events that were to occur during the effective dates of this “Safer at Home” should reschedule their event or contact the Health Department to determine whether their event may still proceed.

7) All businesses except those listed below in Paragraph 9 are required to close their physical locations to the public. However, if legally permitted to do so, businesses that provide goods or services exclusively through curbside service and pickup, drive-thru, shipment, delivery, or virtually may continue. This shall include any business that did not previously provide goods or services in this manner as of the issuance of this Directive but develops a procedure to provide its goods and services in this manner.

8) Minimum basic operations may continue for purposes of maintaining the value of any business’s inventory, ensuring security, processing payroll and employee benefits, or other related necessary functions.

9) The following listed businesses may operate and must comply with any applicable safety measures as further listed herein under: 1) “Safety Measures for Individuals;” 2) “Safety Measures for all Services and Businesses;” and 3) “Safety Measures for Services and Businesses that involve in-person interaction with the public:”

• Any services deemed essential and provided by federal, state, city, or county offices and services, including law enforcement, legal/judicial/court services, transportation, and businesses that provide government programs and services.

• Places of worship and services therein as provided for in Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Orders.

• Any businesses, gatherings, or services that are exclusively provided for by Governor Lee’s Executive Orders, such as dental and medical-related services and certain types of sporting events. Pursuant to Executive Order 70, persons “shall not in any event be in a group of ten (10) or more persons in an indoor public place for the purpose of social gatherings, activities, or events.”  This would include, for example, indoor receptions, parties, or events that are not related to places of worship, weddings, and funerals.

• If any provision in this Directive is preempted by Governor Lee’s Executive Orders, the Governor’s order(s) control.

• Businesses, organizations, or people that provide social services, educational services, and other necessities of life for seniors, adults, children, or people with disabilities, substance abuse disorders, or mental illness. This includes residential facilities and shelters, schools, and other educational organizations. (please see further guidance below for “Long Term Care Facilities and Assisted Living Centers”).

• Services related to caring for a family member or pet in another household.

• Grocery stores, retail stores, and food cultivation businesses. Any of these businesses that are open to the public shall only operate at 50% capacity.

• Daycare and childcare business will remain open, but will prioritize children of parents working in essential services (please see further guidance below for “Daycare and Childcare Businesses”).

• Schools, school systems, colleges, and universities (please see further guidance below for “Schools, School Systems, Colleges and Universities”).

• Detention facilities and any inmate housing (please see further guidance below for “Division of Corrections” and “Detention Facilities”).

• Hotels, commercial lodges, realtor, and housing and rental services, but “open houses” events cannot be held.

• Health care, mental and behavioral health, and biomedical research and businesses that directly support the healthcare industry including health information technology, staffing and supplies.

• Sanitation/waste removal, energy, water, and sewage businesses and services (including laundry/cleaning services).

• Pharmacies and medical supply businesses, and other related-businesses that directly support the drug and medical supply pipeline.

• Vehicle fueling and support, auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;

• Banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, accounting businesses, and other business that directly support the insurance and financial services sector.

• Home and business repair, cleaning, maintenance, and hardware supply.

• Construction and facilities design businesses.

• General and corporate offices, call centers, and other remote service centers. Such facilities are strongly urged to use virtual or remote capabilities and permit work from home when possible as well as limit visitors and vendors within the premises to essential visits on an as-needed basis.

• Self-service storage businesses

• Manufacturing companies, distributors, warehouses and other supply chain companies producing, storing, shipping, and supplying products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, medical supplies, shipping and paper supplies, hygiene, appliances, chemicals, sanitation, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, telecommunications, as well as products used for the operation of other businesses allowed to operate pursuant to this Directive. This provision does not apply to any manufacturing company, distributor, warehouse or other supply chain company that produces, stores, ships, or otherwise supplies products and services for and in industries that are not otherwise identified in this provision, including if non-identified goods and services are provided to a business for the purpose of retail sale.

• Personal care businesses, such as barbers, nail salons, massage therapy by appointment only (please see further guidance below for “Safety Measures for Services and Businesses that require in-person interaction with the public”).

• Gyms, fitness centers, and exercise facilities may operate but capacity must not exceed 50% (including staff).

• Product, parcel, logistics, transport, and delivery and distribution businesses.

• Transportation services including buses, taxis, and other private transportation providers.

• Veterinary and pet supply business and services, including agricultural services and the caring and feeding of all livestock and farm animals.

• Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

• Print, online and broadcast media.

• Funeral and burial services.

• On-site dining services are strongly discouraged, but if customers engage in on-site dining, the business must do the following:

o Require their customers to be seated while eating or drinking and require them to wear a mask at all times except for when the customer is actually seated and dining.

o Indoor seating must not exceed 25% capacity of the establishment.

o No more than 6 guests may be seated at the same table, and they must be of the same household.

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

o Food service shall not exceed 90 minutes.

o All bar counters must be closed for seating.

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

o Dancing is not permitted.

o All food and beverage service shall close at 10 pm. This means that any guests who are already receiving service at 10 pm may remain there until 10:30 pm to complete payment arrangements but may not be served food or beverages after 10 pm.

o 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 10 pm.

o Only staff needed to close, open, clean, or operate curb-side/delivery services shall be in any establishment between the hours of 10:30 pm and 5:00 am. Legally permitted curbside, drive-thru, and delivery service may continue (except for the sale of alcoholic beverages as provided above) without the restriction of closing at 10 pm as long as such services also comply with state law.

• Certain other business and services that the Shelby County Health Department (in coordination with the Shelby County Mayor’s Office and Shelby County Attorney’s Office) determines should continue as provided in any FAQ issued during the “Safer at Home” effective period.

In addition, all persons and businesses must follow the CDC and Tennessee guidelines outlined below. For any business providing such services that require close contact, patrons must not have a fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive case, and these establishments must ensure additional steps are taken to enhance personal hygiene of employees and to provide extraordinary sanitization efforts within the facilities themselves:

1) Safety Measures for Individuals:

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

• Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 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 remain in isolation for a minimum of 10 days, which means staying at home and avoiding contact with others until released by the Department. Individuals may use the State of Tennessee COVID calculator for additional guidance: https://covid19.tn.gov/prevention/quarantine-isolation-calculator/.

• Individuals should stay at home when possible and limit unnecessary activity. Although this Directive allows some individuals to return to work (as provided for below), the threat of COVID-19 remains very serious. Because avoiding unnecessary public interactions is critical to protecting the health and safety of everyone in Shelby County, all persons are still strongly encouraged to continue to stay at home and to minimize in-person contact with people not in the same household, except when engaging in essential activities such as employment or exercise or other activities as outlined in this Directive. Individuals should also be aware of the need to take extra precautions to protect those who are most vulnerable.

• Individuals must practice social distancing, which means keeping at least 6-feet of space between yourself and other people outside of your home. Please see additional, more specific guidance below for situations that involve increased vocalization (such as singing and shouting).

• Individuals must comply with the Face Mask Directive on wearing cloth face coverings in public (or any other local order that is not inconsistent with the Face Mask Directive): www.shelbytnhealth.com/FaceMaskDirective.

• Individuals must avoid using communal items and products that are shared with people who are not of the same household; such items include writing utensils, condiment containers, and work-related devices.

• Individuals may engage in outdoor activities provided that persons adhere to the CDC, Tennessee Department of Health, and Department health guidelines, including, but not limited to, physical activities that utilize public areas while maintaining the aforementioned safety precautions.

• Individuals may assist all businesses that are closed under this Directive with minimum basic operations consisting in performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home) or at their workplaces in order to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for other related, necessary business functions.

• Pursuant to the White House Task Force’s recommendations, if you are over 65 or you have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public space where anyone is unmasked because such conditions pose an immediate risk to your health. If you are over 65 or you have significant health conditions, and you participated in gatherings outside of your immediate household, you are at a significant risk of developing a serious COVID-19 infection, and you must get tested immediately if you have any symptoms related to COVID-19 (see above).

• Pursuant to the White House Task Force’s recommendations, if you are under 40, you should assume you became infected if you participated in gatherings beyond your immediate household. Therefore, even though you may not have symptoms, you are likely to be dangerous to others and should 1) get tested and 2) isolate yourself from others who are at increased risk of developing a serious COVID-19 infection (“others who are at increased risk” are, for example, people over the age of 65).

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. Services and Businesses that may not reopen should consider adopting these safety measures to prepare for reopening in the future.

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

• Request technical assistance from the Department when needed.

• 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.

o Signs must meet or exceed the requirements and safety guidelines outlined by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/stop-the-spread-of-germs.pdf.

o Signs must state that masks are required within the business as provided for in the Face Mask Directive (or any other local order that is not inconsistent with the Face Mask Directive).

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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.

• 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 while within their establishments. Employees are not required to wear masks when at their desk or workstation alone and so long as the workstation is not shared with any other employee.

• 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 https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/wash-your-hands-poster-english-508.pdf

• Drinking fountains should be cleaned and sanitized when in use. Customers, staff, or attendees of an event should be encouraged 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”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html (as of September 22, 2020).

“What to Do if You are Sick”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html (as of September 22, 2020).

• Health checks and screenings for fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must be performed at the start of each employee’s shift so that any employee that exhibits such symptoms may not enter any workplace. This includes taking the temperature of employees who are reporting to work and asking the following:

1. Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

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

3. Have you had a fever 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 exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., by answering yes to any of the screening questions or who are running a fever) should be directed to leave the premises immediately and seek medical care and/or COVID-19 testing. Alternatively, in the absence of their experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, employees may self-validate their status at the beginning of each shift to their supervisor.

• Report to the Department any employee who has had contact with a person who tests or has tested positive for COVID-19 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”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/toolkits/employees-and-worker-safety.html

“Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19”: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

• 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 to more than twice a day cleanings, 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 inside 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 & Complaint) to any individual against whom an FED or other eviction action is filed. This safety measure helps to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 that could be associated with the eviction process. 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.)

• Where feasible, implement contactless transactions.

• Close all self-service customer bulk-item food and/or supply bins.

• Place an employee at entrances to ensure customers are wearing masks prior to entering the establishment, including stores, gyms/fitness centers, and other services providers.

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

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

• If gloves are used by employees, they should be replaced every 30 minutes and discarded whenever an employee washes his/her hands. If at any time the gloves become contaminated with a foreign substance, the gloves are to be discarded and replaced with a new pair.

• Make best efforts to establish hours when they are only available to senior citizens age 55 and older, pregnant women, and otherwise vulnerable populations and consider implementing other measures to help serve vulnerable populations, such as offering delivery services.

• Where family unit groups are allowed and/or where close contact can occur between patrons and/or employees, the service provider or event planner must maintain a record of all patrons to include, at a minimum: first name, last name, time of service/attendance, and cell phone or other contact number to allow for contact tracing in the event a COVID+ case is identified. Records must be maintained for a minimum of 30 days after the date on which the service occurred. The only authorized use of this information is to provide it to the Department for contact tracing purposes. All businesses (including those with plans approved by the Department for an event) must prevent the unauthorized use of contact information collected from its patrons. The Department will provide technical assistance to any business upon request.

• Smoking indoors in any establishment is not permitted (this includes smoking tobacco (cigarettes/cigars), hookahs, and vaping).

• Where practical, businesses are encouraged to use outdoor space for the provision of services.

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

• Patrons or facility personnel must clean equipment, including tables and counters, with disinfecting wipes before and after each use. Shared equipment that cannot be cleaned in between use is not allowed.

• High-touch areas, such as elevator buttons, door handles, and counters must be cleaned regularly throughout the day with disinfectant.

• If the layout of the facility is such that ingress/egress would often prompt encounters of less than 6 feet, facilities must use best efforts to make for one-way traffic flow and/or specific entrances and exits.

• Owners/operators of playgrounds must ensure that the safety measures for services and businesses are followed.

• Communal showers and locker rooms must 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 must remain closed.

• 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 extraordinary 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. To submit a reopening plan to the Department for review and technical assistance, visit www.shelbytnhealth.com/healthdirectives and follow the instructions.

• 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 considerations outlined by the American College of Health Association:

“CDC indicators and thresholds for risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in schools”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/indicators.html#thresholds.

“Colleges, Universities, and Higher Learning”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/index.html

“Higher Education Guidelines”: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/higher-education-guidelines.html

“Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era”:https://www.acha.org/documents/resources/guidelines/ACHA_Considerations_for_Reopening_IHEs_in_the_COVID-19_Era_May2020.pdf

When there is the occurrence of a single confirmed COVID-19 infection at elementary and secondary schools, childcare facilities, 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, schools 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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

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

• 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: https://www.tncourts.gov/Coronavirus.

• Long Term Care Facilities and Assisted Living Centers: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/LTCF_Visitation.pdf.

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 a single confirmed infection of COVID-19, or 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, or each subsequent time a confirmed infection of COVID-19 is identified and/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 if normal operations in the facility will be altered.

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

______________________

In conclusion, the aforementioned guidelines set forth in this Directive present, at this time, the least restrictive means by which transmission of COVID-19 may be slowed while also permitting businesses to reopen and remain open. The Department, with the assistance of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, is authorized to take emergent and immediate action to enforce this Directive.

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.   

Approved and adopted by:

LEE HARRIS,
SHELBY COUNTY MAYOR

BRUCE RANDOLPH, M.D., M.P.H.,
SHELBY COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER

ALISA HAUSHALTER, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC,
SHELBY COUNTY HEALTH DIRECTOR

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. 

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1 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. 4 (“Face Mask Directive”), issued this same day, December 21, 2020, and together, both documents supersede all other written or oral Health Directives. Both documents are located here:

1) Health Directive: www.shelbytnhealth.com/healthdirectives

2) Face Mask Directive: www.shelbytnhealth.com/FaceMaskDirective

Frequently Asked Questions



Q: Are multi-family, residential apartments and buildings required to have an agent physically present in all common areas to ensure that the Face Mask Directive and the Health Directive are properly followed?

A: No, signs may be used to inform inhabitants and visitors that they are required to comply with both Directives. However, at least one staff member should monitor high traffic areas and spaces where customers receive services (such as hotel lobby areas and eateries) to ensure compliance with proper masking and other business requirements provided for in the health directive. Generally, businesses should:

o 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.

o Signs must meet or exceed the requirements and safety guidelines outlined by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/stop-the-spread-of-germs.pdf.

o Signs must state that masks are required within the business as provided for in the Face Mask Directive (or any other local order that is not inconsistent with the Face Mask Directive).

o 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: 
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/StayHomeFromWork.pdf.

o Hotel restaurants/eateries and other areas where customers receive services should be monitored by at least one hotel staff member to ensure compliance with proper masking and social distancing.

Q: Are facilities/businesses, such as parks, allowed to remain open for purposes of individuals engaging in exercise? 

A: Yes, pursuant to the Safer at Home Directive, “all persons are still strongly encouraged to continue to stay at home and to minimize in-person contact with people not in the same household, except when engaging in essential activities such as … exercise….” Thus, outdoor recreational areas may remain open for the purpose of allowing individuals to engage in physical exercise, including walking, hiking, biking, or running, while maintaining proper social distancing from people who are not of the same household. For example, outdoor areas of parks, nature centers, gardens, and the zoo may remain open for these kinds of individual exercises. While the Safer at Home Directive is in effect, individuals and groups should not engage in entertainment activities. Safer at Home provides that “Social activities related to entertainment and recreation should be curtailed because they expose everyone to unnecessary risks of spreading COVID-19.”

Q: Must all establishments that serve any form of alcoholic beverages also serve food and have a Shelby County food permit? 

A: Yes. Any establishment that wishes to engage in “indoor dining” pursuant to the Safer at Home Directive No. 16 must have a Shelby County food permit and actually provide “on-site dining services” (e.g., full meals, not snacks). Further, if an establishment serves any alcoholic beverages to customers engaged in on-site dining, it must also be properly licensed to do so with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and comply with state law. 

Q: What type of businesses should remain closed under the Safer at Home Directive No. 16?

A: The Safer at Home Directive strongly urges everyone to stay home, and it is designed to temporarily cease entertainment and recreational activities in order to end the surge of COVID-19 infections and subsequent hospitalizations and deaths.

However, if some part of the entertainment and recreational business is permissible for any of the listed purposes in the Directive, then that part of the business may continue to operate. For example, if a bowling alley or museum also provides indoor dining (with a legal permit to do so), then that area of the business may continue to provide food to people per restrictions set forth in the Safer at Home Directive, but the actual bowling lanes and art galleries should be closed. With this caveat in mind and in full consideration of the goal of ending the surge of COVID-19 infections, the types of entertainment and recreational activities that should be closed are:

1. Museums and the zoo

2. Tourist Attractions

3. Arcades

4. Escape Rooms

5. Theaters/Movies

6. Hookah/Cigar Lounges

7. Putt-Putt Golf

8. Trampoline Parks

9. Entertainment/Event Centers

10. Adult Entertainment businesses that are only open to people 18 years of age or over

11. Party Bikes

12. Convention Centers/Concert Halls

13. Bowling Alleys

14. Pool Halls

The above list is meant to provide non-exclusive examples. Other entertainment and recreation businesses not specifically allowed to remain open for the four week period under Directive No. 16 should be closed during the Safer at Home period.

Non-school-sponsored Athletic Activities

Q: Are non-school-sponsored athletics, including practices and games/competitions permitted to occur?

A: It is not the Health Department’s recommendation that high-contact/high-risk sports of any kind occur at the present time (please refer to NFHS definitions of high-risk sports below). Nevertheless, pursuant to Governor Lee’s Executive Order 55, non-school-sponsored athletics 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 forthcoming state guidance. The Health Department is available to provide technical assistance on conducting any non-school sponsored athletics activities. Any facility where a non-school sponsored athletic event occurs (including practices and games/competitions) must comply with all applicable provisions of the current Shelby County Health Directive and Shelby County Face Mask Directive, both of which can be found here: www.shelbytnhealth.com/healthdirectives.

School Sports and Activities

Q: Are schools authorized to permit (or not) school-sponsored sporting events and activities?

A: Yes, pursuant to Governor Lee’s Executive Orders 55 and 70, local education agencies and schools may 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. The Health Department is available to provide technical assistance on any sports event or activity.

Mask Usage and Polling Places

Q: Are face covering required while inside any voting location?

A: Face coverings are strongly encouraged (and will be provided) at all voting locations for anyone voting or administering an election.

Curbside, Drive-thru, and Delivery Service

Q: May curbside, drive-thru, and delivery service continue by any properly permitted/licensed food service entity?

A: Yes. All food and beverage service shall close at 10 pm. This means that any guests who are already receiving service at 10 pm may remain there until 10:30 pm to complete payment arrangements but may not be served food or beverages after 10 pm. 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 10 pm. 

Wedding Ceremonies and Receptions

Q: How should I conduct my wedding and/or wedding reception under the current Health Directive?

A: Governor Lee’s executive orders preempt local health department directives as to weddings and currently (as of May 22, 2020) provides the following:

Worship services, weddings, funerals, and events related thereto are not social gatherings … and nothing in this Order mandates closure of a place of worship, or prohibits weddings or funerals as a matter of law. Nevertheless, places of worship are strongly encouraged to continue to utilize virtual or online services and gatherings and strongly encouraged to follow the Guidance for Gathering Together in Houses of Worship issued by the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives regarding in-person services that can be conducted safely. Likewise, persons at weddings and funerals are strongly encouraged to follow the Health Guidelines and maintain appropriate social distancing as provided for herein to the greatest extent practicable, although it is further strongly encouraged that any large public celebration component of weddings and funerals be postponed or attended only by close family members.

Please reach out to the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for assistance on planning your wedding, and if needed, further questions can be directed to the Tennessee Department of Health. Wedding planners are encouraged to use their creativity to plan memorable and safe weddings and/or receptions and should follow applicable guidelines set forth in the current Health Directive, such as general business safety measures, safety measures for businesses that are permitted to be open, safety measures addressing food service (see restaurants and hotels), permitted numbers of people for gatherings, and so forth. Please note that the Directive does not affect the operations of any place of worship. 


Contact Tracing FAQs

Q: What is “contact tracing?”

A: Case investigation is the identification and investigation of patients with confirmed and probable diagnoses of COVID-19, and contact tracing is the subsequent identification, monitoring, and support of their contacts who have been exposed to, and possibly infected with, the virus. Case investigation and contact tracing are well-honed skills that adapt easily to new public health demands and are effective tools to slow the spread of COVID-19 in a community.

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Q: Why is “contact tracing” critical to fighting the COVID-19 virus?

A: Case investigation and contact tracing are fundamental activities that involve working with a patient who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (case) to identify people who may have been exposed to the patient (contacts). This process prevents further transmission of disease by separating people who have (or may have) an infectious disease from people who do not. It is a core disease control measure that has been employed by public health agency personnel for decades.

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Q: Is contact tracing or case investigation different from screenings of employees or visitors at certain locations?

A: Yes. Employers and businesses may require employees or visitors to report any positive COVID-19 test result and/or submit to screening as part of maintaining a safe workplace or establishment. Please review the most current version of the health directive for further information on this: www.shelbytnhealth.com/healthdirectives.

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Q: Is the Health Department required by law to conduct contact tracing/case investigations?

A: Yes. Pursuant to state law, the Department shall receive reports of suspected cases of COVID-19 and must:

1) Confer with the entity or person making the report;

2) Collect any specimens for laboratory examinations to confirm the report and/or to find the source of the infection;

3) Obtain all names and information necessary to identify and contact all persons potentially exposed to the source of the disease outbreak as needed to protect public health;

4) Make a complete epidemiological investigation, including review of appropriate medical and laboratory records of affected persons and controls, interviews of affected persons and controls, and a recording of findings; and

5) Establish appropriate control measures including examination, treatment, isolation, quarantine, exclusion, disinfection, surveillance, closure of an establishment, education, and other measures considered appropriate for the protection of public health

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Q: Do health departments have exclusive authority to conduct contact tracing/case investigation work?

A: Yes. Governor Lee's Executive Orders dictate a statewide approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain counties with locally run health departments, including the Shelby County Health Department, have been delegated authority to issue local orders or measures related to the containment or management of the spread of COVID-19, which includes contact tracing and case investigations. These measures are further defined and explained in state law.

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Q: Does an individual or employer have an obligation to engage in contact tracing or case investigation with anyone besides the Shelby County Health Department or State of Tennessee Department of Health?

A: No. Please note that employers may request screening information from employees and visitors to ensure workplace safety and for purposes of complying with health directive and state/federal law. Employers may be required to maintain and release records of confirmed cases that are workplace safety-related pursuant to OSHA/TOSHA record-keeping requirements as set forth in federal regulations.

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Q: When an individual tests positive, must the individual cooperate with the Department for purposes of contact tracing?

A: Yes. Pursuant to state law, corresponding regulations, and directives, individuals must cooperate with the Department by providing records or other information necessary to carry out the purposes listed above for contact tracing.

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Q: When an employee tests positive, must the employer report the positive case to the Department for purposes of contact tracing?

A: Yes. Pursuant to state law, corresponding regulations, and directives, individuals must cooperate with the Department by providing records or other information necessary to carry out the purposes listed above for contact tracing.

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Q: Are professionals who practice the “healing arts” (as defined by state law), such as nurses or doctors required to report positive test results to the Health Department?

A: Yes. All healthcare providers and other persons knowing of or suspecting a case of a reportable disease or event shall report that occurrence to the Department of Health. Any person licensed by the State of Tennessee to practice a healing art who has reasonable cause to believe that a person is or may be a health threat to others because the person is unable, is unwilling, or is failing to act in such a manner as to not place others at significant risk of exposure to infection that causes serious illness, disability, or death shall report that information to the Commissioner or a health officer. The profession or the entity for whom the professional works may assume the obligation to report on behalf of the professional.

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Q: Does confidential health information related to contact tracing that is provided to the Health Department remain confidential?

A: Yes. Pursuant to state and federal law and regulation, whenever any individual, employer, or entity provides medical information and relevant non-medical records to a duly authorized representative of the Department for purposes of contact tracing, such information shall be treated as confidential and sensitive and shall not be disclosed in any manner that would violate state and federal law.

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Q: If someone provides their confidential health information to a governmental entity, health care agency, or employer (other than the Department) for the purpose of contact tracing, does that information remain confidential under state and/or federal law?

A: The Department cannot ensure the confidentiality of health information that is provided to employers and/or third parties, though such parties may have separate confidentiality obligations.

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