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. 17 January 20, 2021

SUMMARY OF CHANGES IN HEALTH DIRECTIVE NO. 17 

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 for a specific event or to 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 January 23, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.)

FORMAL ISSUANCE OF HEALTH ORDER AND DIRECTIVE NO. 17

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

_______________________

COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising in Shelby County and across the United States. Additionally, new variants of the COVID-19 virus have been identified in other countries, one or more of which are expected to reach Shelby County. Some of the new variants are believed to be more contagious but not more fatal. On January 7, 2021, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, predicted that the daily death toll from the coronavirus will continue to rise for weeks to come. He stressed that it is still possible to blunt that acceleration by strictly adhering to public health measures like social distancing and mask wearing. “Now’s not the time to pull back on this,” he warned. He also counseled patience with the vaccination program gearing up across the nation.

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. The seemingly endless length of the pandemic has caused COVID-19 fatigue. Individuals and businesses are understandably frustrated and discouraged. In light of this, the Department urges 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 essential 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 1) gather indoors with persons who are not of the same household, 2) for 15 minutes or more, 3) without wearing face masks, and 4) 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. Relying solely on the prospect of eventually receiving a vaccine creates a false sense of security.

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 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 up to 14 days after the 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 fine of $50 may be imposed against an individual and/or an establishment per violation for creating acts that cause any environment to be unsafe to residents and visitors in the community.

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:

Individuals should avoid “gatherings.” Gatherings include any event or activities unrelated to essential services that bring together groups of individuals outside of their household. Pursuant to Governor Lee’s 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.

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 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 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.

Isolate (if you test positive) or Quarantine (if you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19) pursuant to this calculator: https://covid19.tn.gov/prevention/quarantine-isolation-calculator/.

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

• If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 you must quarantine in accordance with CDC Guidance pertaining to quarantine: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html.

• Isolate (if you test positive) or Quarantine (if you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19) pursuant to this calculator: https://covid19.tn.gov/prevention/quarantine-isolation-calculator/.

• 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). 

• 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 COVID-19 infection. 

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.

• 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.

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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.

“What to Do if You are Sick”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.

• 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”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/toolkits/employees-and-worker-safety.html.

“Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19”: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/workplaces-businesses/specific-industries.html.

• 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. For example, restaurants must maintain seating charts to assist with contact tracing as further explained in Section 3 below.

• 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.

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

• Place an employee (or 24-hour monitored security camera) at entrances to 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.4.

• 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.

• Prohibit indoor smoking or vaping.

• Make best efforts to establish hours when the establishment is 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.

• Do not allow groups larger than 6 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 dining.

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

• Maintain a record of patrons/customers for events and/or where family unit groups are allowed, to include at least one contact that can provide information on other members of the group. The contact information should include, at a minimum: first name, last name, time of service/attendance, and cell phone or other contact number to permit 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 business that require close contact between patrons and/or employees for the provision of services (i.e. Nail Salons, Barbershops, Salons, and other personal appearance businesses) must maintain a record of all patrons including, at a minimum, first name, last name, time of service, and cell phone number 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 protect against the unauthorized use of contact information collected from its patrons.

• 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. Only industry-safe portable electric heaters may be used under any tent/structure, and the heaters must not create a tripping hazard. Propane heaters may be used outside the tent/structure but must be at least 5-feet away. Heated air may be piped into a tent/structure. 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, writing utensils, store bags, condiment containers, self-service stations, 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 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.

• Close all hot tubs.

• 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 their same household.

• 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. 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 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”: 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 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.

• 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, 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:

https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/restaurant-guidelines.html and

https://www.tn.gov/abc/licensing/liquorbythedrinklicenses.

• 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.

• Indoor seating must not exceed 50% capacity of the establishment (including any modified enclosure of outdoor spaces).

• Must serve a meal (and have a 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 dining.

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

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

• Food service shall not exceed two hours.

• All bar counters must be closed for seating.

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

• Dancing is not permitted indoors.

• 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.

• 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 curb-side, 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.

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. Festivals, fairs, parades, large-scale sporting events, and large-scale 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 may 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 six (6) people from the same household 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: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/recreation-guidelines.html.

5. Exercise Facilities: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/exercise-facilities-guidelines.html.

6. Salons, Barbershops, and Nail Salons, and other personal appearance businesses that require close contact between patrons and employees: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/close-contact-business-guidelines.html.

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: https://www.tncourts.gov/Coronavirus. 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: 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 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 6 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:

https://tssaa.org/returntoplay. 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: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/tennessee-pledge.html. 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 https://www.nfhs.org/media/3812287/2020-nfhs-guidance-for-opening-up-high-school-athletics-and-activities-nfhs-smac-may-15_2020-final.pdf 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.

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.   

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. 

___________________________________________________________________________________________

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; and

3) For FAQs and contact tracing information, select links on the top blue bar here: www.shelbytnhealth.com/healthdirectives.

4) Governor Lee's orders can be found here: https://sos.tn.gov/products/division-publications/executive-orders-governor-bill-lee

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: 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 Health Directive No. 17 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. 

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 provide 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.

___________________

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.

___________________

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.

___________________

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

___________________

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.

___________________

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.

___________________

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.

___________________

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.

___________________

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.

___________________

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.

___________________

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.

___________________

Other Resources for Businesses

Connect With Us