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 HEALTH ORDER AND DIRECTIVE July 3, 2020

Printable PDF version of Health Directive #7

COVID-19 Call Center
833-943-1658
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. 

Recent Updates/Changes

June 15, 2020 - clarification to “Scholastic and other organized teams

Public Health Directive

FORMAL ISSUANCE OF HEALTH DIRECTIVE No. 7

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

_______________________

TO: Residents, Services, Businesses, and Visitors of 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

_______________________

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 Health Department, this Health Directive is being issued to protect the public health for all citizens and businesses in Shelby County, Tennessee. Those citizens and owners of businesses described herein and currently within Shelby County, Tennessee serve as the class of people subject to this Directive. This Directive supersedes all prior written or oral Health Directives and shall remain in effect unless superseded. This Health Directive will generally be updated every fourteen (14) days (or earlier if necessary) to account for current and relevant Shelby County health data. 

All Health Directives are written in consultation with a back-to-business task force group comprised of representatives of key stakeholders in the County, including the City of Memphis, other municipalities, health officials and doctors, and governmental attorneys, and with careful consideration of many factors, including input from health officials. 

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. 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 prevention practices to prevent the virus’s spread are:

• staying home when sick

• limiting close contact with others

• maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from other people

• wearing a cloth face covering or mask over your nose and mouth

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

• cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects 

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 providers of essential and other services to take steps to stop the spread of this deadly disease. These prophylactic actions are meant to protect everyone. 

As has always been the case, the safety measures adopted and practiced by businesses regarding employees and customers will be considered in determining whether a business should be permitted to continue operating. If a business environment is unsafe for the public, it will be closed pursuant to long-standing health department regulations and policies. Although the Health Department can require businesses and their customers to wear face coverings, at this time, the Health Department is asking businesses to take on the civic responsibility of protecting themselves, their employees, and their customers. Businesses that practice employee and customer safety measures, such as required face coverings (when appropriate) and maintaining social distancing, will be acknowledged as partners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by being registered as a “Healthy Shelby Business” on websites for the Shelby County Health Department and Shelby County Mayor.  

This Directive removes certain restrictions on the ability to return to work and engage in essential activities. It is intended to be a guide toward developing long-term safety measures, as detailed below, to slow and end the transmission of COVID-19, which continues to be a direct and deadly threat to the population of Shelby County, Tennessee.

In order to facilitate evolving efforts to expand the opening of services and businesses in Shelby County, this Directive provides the following guidance on:

1) Safety Measures for Individuals;

2) Safety Measures for all Services and Businesses; and

3) Specific Parameters for Services and Businesses.

Those services or businesses that are not listed are not permitted to operate and should remain fully closed at this time.

1) Safety Measures for Individuals:

• Individuals should cooperate with health authorities’ efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Adopting safe habits benefits you and those around you.

• Individuals are encouraged and permitted to return to work while adopting the safety precautions expressed in this Directive.

• 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 practice social distancing, which means keeping at least six feet of space between yourself and other people outside of your home.

• Individuals should wear cloth face coverings or masks that cover the nose and mouth in public settings where being in close proximity to others is anticipated and particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain at all times. Cloth face coverings or masks should not be placed on young children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for health care workers and first responders.

• Individuals should not participate in “social/recreational gatherings” of more than fifty (50) people unless otherwise permitted in this Directive and while maintaining other safety measures for individuals as set forth in this Directive. "Social and recreational gatherings" are intentional or purposeful groupings of people who are not part of a household unit (and thus would have regular close contact) in a manner that makes social distancing difficult. Examples include yard sales, house parties, and any planned public/community events. 

• Large community events, such as festivals, parades, fairs, and sporting/spectator events are not permitted to occur at this time, but may be contemplated in future Directives. “Large” is defined as any event in which 500 or more people can participate or attend, including event staff. Any event that will have less than 500 people, including staff, may submit a proposed plan to the Health Department for consideration to be allowed in a future Directive. This can be done by visiting the website here: www.shelbytnhealth.com/healthdirectives and following the instructions for submitting a plan. All plans should include any applicable safety measures contained in the Directive. In summary, at this time:

o Events of 0-50 are permissible so long as the organizer and participants comply with other safety measures in this Directive (for individuals and for services/businesses);

o Events of 51-499 may be permitted in the future if the health department approves an organizer’s plan that complies with the requirements of submitting a plan found at the website; and

o Events of 500 or more are not permitted under any circumstances at this time. 

• Nothing in this Directive mandates closure of a place of worship or prohibits weddings or funerals as a matter of law. Weddings may be conducted in any manner that is permissible under Governor Lee’s Executive Order No. 30. However, places of worship are strongly encouraged to continue to utilize virtual or online services and gatherings and 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. Any modification by the State of Tennessee to this provision must also be followed.

• Individuals should 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 activities essential to:

a) the individual’s health or safety;

b) the safety of the individual’s family, household members, or pets; or

c) the health or safety of individuals who are unable to or should not leave their home.

Such activities include, but are not limited to, seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or assistance, obtaining and delivering groceries, and obtaining supplies when required to work from home.

• Individuals may engage in outdoor activities, provided that persons adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tennessee Department of Health, and Shelby County Health 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.

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 as further specified under “Specific Parameters for Services and Businesses.” Services and Businesses that may not reopen should consider adopting these safety measures to prepare for reopening in the future.

• In accordance with Tennessee law, individuals subject to a quarantine or isolation order must remain in quarantine or isolation, and not otherwise return to work or move about the public, until released by the Shelby County Health Officer. Release by the Health Officer is required to end quarantine or isolation, which will be a decision sufficiently based in medical science and CDC guidelines, and not simply a negative COVID-19 test result. (Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-14-01 and 1200-14-04 et seq.; www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov).

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

• Comply with all federal and state business COVID-19 safety requirements, whether industry-specific or not, such as, for example, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. Wherever “building occupancy” is referenced, that means the occupancy set by the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Construction Code Enforcement or comparable municipal office.

• Place prominent informational signs at entrances and high-traffic areas (such as entrances and restroom areas) to educate and encourage a partnership of safety for businesses and the public. Signs should include information about at-risk individuals and explain that the business is compliant with the Health Department’s safety measures and that people should:

o not enter a public facility if they have a cough, fever, or other symptoms of COVD-19

o maintain social distancing from people who are not household members

o engage in respiratory etiquette, including covering up coughs and sneezes and properly disposing of tissues

o wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer

o wear masks or face coverings when appropriate.

• Ensure proper ventilation in all indoor areas of any business location, and, where possible, keep doors open and operate fans to allow increased ventilation.

• Strongly encourage all customers/visitors to wear a mask or cloth face covering while within their establishments. Nothing in this Directive precludes a business from requiring customers/visitors to wear a mask or cloth fact covering, where appropriate. 

• Require employees who work in public areas or around coworkers to wear a mask or cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth.

• Advise those who wear face coverings or masks that cloth face coverings or masks should not be placed on young children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering or mask without assistance. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for health care workers and first responders.

• Continue promoting frequent and thorough handwashing, providing workers, customers, and visitors a place to wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer at or near entrances to a facility, high-traffic areas, and other appropriate areas where there are frequent employee/public interactions (e.g., cash registers and shopping carts/baskets). Employers should have assigned employees who are responsible for ensuring that this safety measure is met.

• Where feasible, implement contactless transactions.

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

• Close all water fountains. 

• Require workers to stay home if they are sick and ask employees to do health checks by taking and recording their temperature before entering the workplace. 

 • Health checks and screenings for fever (not to exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 should be performed so that any employee that exhibits such symptoms may not enter any workplace. This includes asking employees who are reporting to work the following questions:

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.

• Require any employee who has had contact with a person who tests or has tested positive for COVID-19 to self-quarantine according to the Shelby County Health Department’s guidance.

• Where practical, 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 ensure that people inside can easily maintain a minimum six-foot distance from each other at all times, except when necessary to complete a business transaction such as payment or delivery of goods.

• Place an employee at entrances to ensure any applicable building occupancy thresholds (as further delineated below) are not exceeded.

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

• All concessions that are made available to the public must be inspected and approved by the Health Department's Environmental Health Services prior to operating, and employees involved in the food transactions must be trained in proper food-handling protocols. Concession registers should be configured to allow for six-foot spacing between customers.

• 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, if applicable. 

• 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.

• Live music should not be permitted unless appropriate precautions are taken. Research and the CDC suggest that activities like singing may project respiratory droplets in greater quantity and over greater distance, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly with prolonged exposure. Live music performers should maintain at least 15 feet of separation—and more if possible—between audience members and performers (such as vocalists and singers). Thus, seating and spacing modifications should be adopted to increase physical distances between any observer and any performer. Where necessary, install barriers to minimize travel of aerosolized particles from performers, or implement alternative placement of performers. In addition, maximize physical spacing between performers on-stage by at least six feed unless barriers are used. Dancing should not be allowed unless it is outdoors and dancers maintain six feet separation from those who are not of their same household.

• Practice limited re-openings as further described below.

3. Parameters for Specific Services and Businesses

The following service providers and/or businesses may remain open or reopen as listed below, with any additional limitations as specified. To the extent not inconsistent with this Directive, all businesses should strive to comply with all CDC industry-specific guidance for their operations. Please contact the Shelby County Health Department if you require technical assistance regarding any safety parameters. If any service or business is not listed, it should remain closed.

• Federal and state offices and services, including post offices and airports, as prescribed by federal and state guidelines.

• County and municipal government functions, offices, and buildings, including law enforcement, transportation, and businesses/operations that provide government programs and services. Such governmental buildings, offices, and operations may require safety measures, including, but not limited to, wearing facial coverings. By virtue of the Shelby County Mayor’s Declaration of Emergency and this Directive, law enforcement officials with jurisdiction over these areas have enforcement authority, pursuant to Title 58 of Tennessee Code Annotated, to ensure that those safety measures are followed.

• Any services or businesses that the State of Tennessee has mandated statewide uniformity in a manner that does not permit a local health department to monitor (such as places of worship and certain dental or medical practices and procedures). These services or businesses shall operate according to State guidance.

• Health care professionals licensed under the provisions of Title 63 of Tennessee Code Annotated. Industry-specific standards and regulations as to COVID-19-related safety protocols must be followed.

• To the extent not controlled by the State of Tennessee, biomedical research, and businesses that directly support the healthcare industry, including health information technology, staffing, and supplies.

• Critical Infrastructure businesses already operating under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and/or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance for employee and workplace safety.

• Veterinary and pet supply businesses and services including the caring and feeding of pets, livestock, and farm animals.

• Agricultural and horticultural operations, including those businesses that directly support the food supply, including food processing, feed mills, nurseries, greenhouses, farmers’ markets, food banks, community gardens, garden centers, and landscape architectural services.

• Sanitation and waste removal services and businesses.

• Energy, water, and sewage services and businesses.

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

• Vehicle fuel, support, and service stations.

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

• Legal and judicial services as prescribed by local, state, and federal courts. Courtroom and courthouse operations may require safety measures as prescribed by judges and the Shelby County Sheriff (or other applicable law enforcement), including, but not limited to, wearing facial coverings and maintaining social distancing. By virtue of the Shelby County Mayor’s Declaration of Emergency and this Directive, law enforcement officials with jurisdiction over these areas have enforcement authority, pursuant to Title 58 of Tennessee Code Annotated, to ensure that those safety measures are followed.

• Laundromats, laundry, and dry-cleaning services.

• Warehousing and storage.

• Construction and facilities design businesses.

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

• Home and business cleaning and maintenance services.

• Parcel/mailings transportation and delivery businesses.

• 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.

• Filming productions must comply with all current and applicable Health Directive requirements (including general business safety measures) and with the "Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic" prepared by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

• Funeral and burial services.

Civic facilities, such as libraries, tourist attractions, and museums, may reopen at 50% building occupancy with all safety measures outlined above followed. Wherever “building occupancy” is referenced, that means the occupancy set by the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Construction Code Enforcement or comparable municipal office.

Theaters (movies and live performance) are permitted to open in the following manner: 

1. The movie or performance cannot involve patrons engaging in loud talking, yelling, shouting, or singing.

2. Groups of patrons that arrive together may sit together, but no person in one group can be seated less than six feet apart from any person seated with another group. This six-foot distance requirement applies to horizontal and vertical distances.

3. Groups of patrons should be limited to no more than six people.

4. All applicable service/business safety measures provided in this Directive should be followed.

5. All patrons should be screened prior to entry to the event. This includes taking a temperature screening of employees who are reporting to work and asking the following of them:

Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID19?

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

• Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?

• Have you had new loss of taste or smell?

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

Outdoor Graduation Ceremonies are allowed as long as the following safety measures are followed:

1. The ceremony must take place outdoors, and all attendees must remain outdoors at all times during the gathering, with the sole exception of restroom use.

2. Outdoor venues with fixed seating (such as a footballs stadium) are limited to 50% capacity attendance. Wherever “building occupancy” is referenced, that means the occupancy set by the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Construction Code Enforcement or comparable municipal office.

3. Open-air rain tarps, tents, and other outdoor structures shall be allowed solely for the purpose of protecting against foul weather or for shade.

4. All attendees at the gathering are required to remain at least six feet apart from other attendees at all times, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners. Use tape or other materials to demarcate six feet of distance between students and others while standing and walking, and ensure any chairs for students, guests and staff are six feet apart.

5. Consider class size and available space in light of social distancing protocol to determine the number of ceremonies needed. If conducting multiple ceremonies, follow CDC and any state recommended cleaning protocols in between ceremonies.

6. There should be limited contact between attendees, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners. To limit person-to-person contact, schools should consider contactless measures for providing students with diplomas and caps/gowns, such as mailing materials to students’ homes. Programs, maps, and other documents can be distributed electronically in advance of the ceremony or mailed to students and families.

7. Sharing or exchanging materials of any kind poses an increased risk of transmission/spread of COVID-19 and must be avoided.

8. If chairs and other equipment are provided, they should not be shared and should be sanitized before and after use.

9. Students may walk across a stage or area and pose for a picture individually.

10. Ceremonies should be limited to the least amount of time necessary in order to shorten the time that people are exposed to each other.

11. Schools should limit speakers and ensure that individuals do not share microphones/megaphones or other equipment that may pose a health risk.

12. Schools must clearly communicate expectations and procedures regarding photography in order to limit crowding. Consider utilizing school staff to take photos and make them available to all families free of charge to minimize the need for families to gather around staged areas to take photos.

13. If public restrooms are available and open, schools must take appropriate measures to prevent congregation such as marking standing locations and assigning staff to monitor these areas. Please consult with health officials on disinfection protocols.

14. Schools should assign staff to monitor entrances and egresses to prevent congregation. Consider staggering arrival times to ease crowds at access points.

15. Strongly encourage all individuals at the graduation to wear face coverings, in accordance with CDC and Health Directive recommendations, except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health or where the individual is under two years of age.

16. Schools may want to consider limiting the number of guests that are permitted to attend the ceremony or holding student-only commencements.

17. Schools must write a plan and protocol for adhering to the safety measures 

Restaurants and limited service restaurants may return to in-restaurant dining in the following manner:

1. Restaurants whose primary, legally permitted business is food service may reopen and use of outdoor patio areas is encouraged. Tables must be spaced, and seating arrangements coordinated to maintain a distance of at least six feet between groups of customers. In other words, no person at a table should be less than six fee apart from any other table. Customers should remain seated except for entry, exit, and restroom usage.

2. Dining groups should be limited to no more than six people.

3. Bar areas may be used for table seating as long as there is at least six feet distance between each group of customers. For example, a married couple may sit next to each other at a bar, but other customers should be seated six feet apart from them. There should be no standing room at the bar.

4. All communal use of items and products should be prevented, including, for example, writing utensils, condiment containers, self-service stations, and buffets.

5. All menus should be disposable, single-patron usage, and/or accessible by personal electronic devices (e.g., internet website, QR Code, etc.).

6. All employees should be required to take their temperature or perform a quick health check before entering the work area.

7. Employees involved in food preparation or service are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth.

• Legally permitted businesses that provide goods or services exclusively through curbside pick-up or drive-thru are permitted to continue current operations, with the these additional accommodations:

1. If necessary, these businesses may permit patrons to enter the premises to pick up an order.

2. Businesses that do not offer a “drive-thru” order service are strongly encouraged to avoid allowing lines to form by requesting that patrons place their food or other orders in advance by telephone, online, or other remote means, and request that they wait in their vehicle until the order is ready. If patrons do not have a vehicle, or if they must enter the premises for order, payment, and/or pick-up, access should be restricted to one patron at a time whenever possible. Should patrons have a need to form a line outside of the business, they must remain a minimum of six-feet apart.

Retail and Grocery, including legally permitted food and beverage businesses, grocery stores, convenience stores selling food, home/business repair, and hardware supply stores.

1. The number of customers must be limited to 50% of the building occupancy for each location. Wherever “building occupancy” is referenced, that means the occupancy set by the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Construction Code Enforcement or comparable municipal office.

2. Distancing markers must be placed throughout the store, and outside where customers may be waiting in line, to remind customers to maintain a safe distance from other patrons.

3. Consideration should be given to reopening with reduced hours to ensure ample time for proper cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.

4. All communal use items and products should be prevented including store bags and writing utensils (e.g., customers may package their own items in their own bags).

5. Employees must be required to take their temperature or perform a quick health check before reporting to work.

6. Sales by curbside pick-up, drive-thru, or delivery should be encouraged and promoted.

Non-contact recreation facilities (such as bowling alleys, mini-golf, arcades, dance-classes, and axe throwing venues) and non-contact sports facilities (such as parks, golf courses, and tennis courts) may open or reopen in the following manner:

1. For indoor facilities, occupancy is limited to 50%.

2. All persons must remain in groups of ten people or less, all of whom should follow individual safety measures set forth above. Further, groups should maintain at least six feet of separation from and avoid physical contact with other persons or groups outside of their own group. Adjustments should be made to equipment layout with closed or restricted access to equipment as necessary so as to permit six-feet physical distancing.

3. Facilities should conduct regular and thorough cleaning of all equipment, surfaces and areas of the facility using disinfectant cleaning supplies.

4. Facilities should require that patrons wash or sanitize their hands upon entering the facility and maintain six-foot physical distancing between themselves and others while at the facility.

5. Patrons or facility personnel should be required to clean equipment with disinfecting wipes before and after each use, and facilities must provide hand-sanitizing stations for use upon patron entry and exit to and from the facility.

6. No sick patrons and employees should be allowed to enter indoor facilities.

7. Employees that interact with the public and/or customers must wear face coverings.

8. All venues, businesses, and employers that are open under this provision must, to the extent consistent with the Directive, operate in accordance with Non-Contact Recreation Guidelines, which are available at the following web address as of May 18, 2020, and which may be periodically updated: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/recreation-guidelines.html.

Health Clubs and Contact Sports Facilities (including gyms) may reopen in the following manner:

1. Facilities should have restricted access to 50% of building occupancy and to staffed hours only or some other means of monitoring patron compliance with each facilities’ safety measures and applicable occupancy requirements.

2. Adjustments should be made to equipment layout with closed or restricted access to equipment as necessary so as to permit six-feet physical distancing.

3. Facilities should conduct regular and thorough cleaning of all equipment, surfaces and areas of the facility using disinfectant cleaning supplies.

4. Facilities should require that patrons wash or sanitize their hands upon entering the facility and maintain six-foot physical distancing between themselves and others while at the facility.

5. Patrons or facility personnel should be required to clean equipment with disinfecting wipes before and after each use, and facilities must provide hand-sanitizing stations for use upon patron entry and exit to/from the facility.

6. No sick patrons and employees should be allowed to enter the facility.

7. Employees that interact with the public and/or customers must wear face coverings.

8. Follow additional guidance as provided for by the State of Tennessee here: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/exercise-facilities-guidelines.html.

Pools may reopen to allow fitness-focused swimming and reduced recreational swimming with the safety precautions outlined below. This Directive does not limit applicability of the safety precautions required for pool operation to any particular class(es) or category(ies) of swimming pools. Compliance with these safety precautions is required for operation of any indoor or outdoor aquatic facility which routinely host individuals or groups of individuals from different households, including, but not limited to, community, members-only, housing complex, hotel/motel, exercise facility, multi-home residential community and/or homeowner’s association, and apartment complex pools. While these safety precautions are not required for operation of private, single-family home “backyard” swimming pools, those who have such pools are strongly encouraged to follow these safety precautions.

1. For lap swimming, there should be one swimmer per lane (unless lap swimmers are of the same household) and one lane should be free between each swimmable lane.

2. For water aerobics, swimmers should maintain six-foot distances from each other.

3. For all other recreational swimming, the number of people permitted in the pool must be limited to a number such that a minimum of six (6) feet physical distancing can be maintained between non-family members at all times, with a maximum of 50 people allowed in any pool. Aquatics staff must be able to easily monitor and enforce the required six (6) feet physical distancing requirement. Spitting of water should not be permitted.

4. Patrons should reserve times to swim/enter the pool, and limit swims to 45 minutes each.

5. Shared equipment among non-family members is not permitted (this includes, for example, fins, snorkels, kickboards, googles, water weights, and pull buoys).

6. Aquatics staff must complete a symptom check before entering the pool area and should wear face coverings at all times.

7. Pool(s) should be closed every 45 minutes to permit the aquatics staff to clean/disinfect the pool and the area around it. Handrails, door handles, pool ladders, water fountains, benches, tables, chairs and any other common fixtures should be sanitized hourly. Any communal spaces, such as locker rooms, must be set up to enable social distancing and any high-touch areas should be sanitized regularly. For each cleaning, staff should use face coverings and disposable gloves.

8. Any communal spaces, including the perimeter of the pool or locker rooms, must be set up to enable social distancing while seated or moving about.

9. Signage requiring the above regulations, along with requesting proper hand and sneeze hygiene, should be posted at entries.

10. Swim lessons/classes should not be permitted.

11. Hot tubs must remain closed.

• Organized recreational or athletic activities can occur based on the sport and degree of activity with varied restrictions and safety measures outlined below. Individual plans should be crafted to adapt to the space and function of each operation. 

1. Owners/operators of any outdoor area or facility are responsible for developing and enforcing these safety measures, and may adopt additional safety measures than the ones outlined below, including continued closure.

2. Facilities are required to place prominent informational signs at entrances and high-traffic areas to educate and encourage the public to follow safety measures. Signs should explain that the outdoor area/facility is compliant with the Shelby County Health Department’s safety measures and that all individuals should:

• Avoid entering a public area/facility if they have a cough, fever, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

• Maintain social distancing from people who are not household members.

• Engage in respiratory etiquette, including covering up coughs and sneezes in your elbow and properly disposing of tissues.

• Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

• Wear non-medical masks, scarves, bandanas, or other cloth face coverings unless you have trouble breathing or otherwise are unable to remove a cover without assistance.

• Not require children under two years old to wear any type of face covering.

3. Any organized competitive sports contest or group event must be limited to a single venue—such as a field—with a maximum of 50 people allowed per venue. Large complexes with multiple venues must consider the larger crowds they will be encouraging, and thus only conduct events after receiving approval of detailed protocols and enforcement procedures from the Shelby County Health Department.

4. Staff and/or other individuals responsible for the facility or event should be properly trained on these guidelines and any additional site-specific guidelines to ensure all safety measures are followed.

5. Any organized competitive sports contest or event must be limited as much as possible solely to the necessary participants (e.g., players, umpires/referees, game officials). Spectators must observe social distancing between individuals or household groups.

6. To the extent possible, spectators should provide their own seating (e.g., folding chairs) and avoid using fixed seating.

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

8. Any high-touch areas must be cordoned off or sanitized regularly.

9. Restrooms must be sanitized hourly, with particular attention given to high-touch areas. To the extent possible, doors should be left open.

10. Group participants should be screened (including temperature and symptom check) before entering an activity area and should be sent home and advised to seek medical care if they have a temperature of 100.4 F or answer yes to any of the following questions:

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

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

• Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?

• Have you had new loss of taste or smell?

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

11. Staff must sanitize any high-touch areas such as dugout rails, chairs, door/gate handles at venues between each use (defined as a competition or practice).

12. Water fountains or community water stations must be closed if possible and participants required to bring their own water containers.

13. Eliminate, rearrange, or reduce to the greatest extent possible any close-quarter arrangement of players, such as in a dugout or on a bench, or huddles.

14. Eliminate any customs that involve unnecessary touching, such as handshakes or high-fives.

15. Teams should prohibit travel to and from events using buses or vans. Individual household units must, as much as possible, travel separately.

16. If an athlete, coach, or official tests positive for COVID-19, the league and facility must immediately cease operation and contact the Shelby County Health Department for cooperation with contact tracing. The SCHD will work with organizers to determine the safest possible way to resume activities. A roster of participants at each activity, including coaches, players, and officials, shall be kept along with contact information and must be made available to the SCHD upon request and as needed to facilitate contact tracing.

17. Scholastic and other organized teams not deemed to be high-risk as determined by the National Federations of State High School Associations may conduct more comprehensive practices, but contact must be limited and all other social distancing principles should apply as much as is practicable. High risk sports include for example: wrestling, football, lacrosse, competitive cheer, and dance, and these activities should not occur at this time. The Health Department anticipates receiving additional state guidance on these activities.

• Strict adherence to social distancing among participants, coaches, and officials

• Locker room areas must be closed, and any breaks, pre-workout, or post-workout gathering must be conducted with social distancing.

• Eliminate or limit to the greatest extent possible any shared equipment, such as balls, weights, etc. Any shared equipment should be sanitized between uses.

• To the extent practices are held, teams must consider all available methods to limit or eliminate contact or close-quarter activity, such as holding walk-throughs.

19. The Health Department will continue to review and determine best practices to have in place at any given time and will make appropriate modifications to the above guidance.

20. Individual activities conducted in a group, such as group running or cycling, must be limited to the group size maximum of 50. Any pre- or post-event gatherings must either be eliminated entirely or staged to where social distancing is enforced. Large cycling, running, and triathlon-related events (defined as more than 50 participants) are not permitted at this time.

21. Parents/guardians must supervise all children participating in individual recreational activities to ensure compliance with these safety measures.

22. Safe drop-off and pick-up procedures shall be developed with social distancing principles in place. Individuals must not congregate in parking lots.

23. Operators of any activity should provide facial coverings at easily accessible locations.

Car washes are permitted with the following restrictions:

1. Employees must wear face coverings and ensure that face coverings remain dry.

2. Employees must undergo symptoms checks upon reporting to work each day.

3. Contactless payment is highly encouraged.

4. Any equipment used by customers (such as a vacuum) must be closed or sanitized after every use by a carwash employee.

5. Any equipment shared by employees must be sanitized before being transferred to other employees.

6. If stand-alone vacuum stalls are within six feet of one another, every other stall must remain closed.

7. Interior cleaning should be limited to one employee per vehicle, and that employee must wear disposable gloves and a face covering. New gloves should be used after each vehicle cleaning.

8. Customers should wait in their vehicles until the business is ready to clean the interior of their car.

9. Congregating or gathering in groups is prohibited, and any waiting areas and must be configured to comply with social distancing requirements.

10. Signage shall be posted at prominent areas of entry to each carwash facility reminding customers of their obligation to social distance, wear face coverings, and practice cough etiquette.

Barber shops, hair salons, and other personal appearance businesses (such as nail salons, tattoo shops, spas, and tanning salons) may open with additional parameters set forth below or as otherwise dictated by the State of Tennessee. All businesses should adhere to CDC general and industry-specific safety guidelines, and these businesses must follow these additional requirements:

1. Employees must have their symptoms and temperature checked before entering the work area and cannot be permitted to enter if they have a fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19.

2. Salons and shop owners must sufficiently stock their place of business with hand sanitizer, soap, and/or sanitizing wipes before reopening.

3. Owners must maintain an appointment book that includes, at a minimum, customer name, date, and time of service.

4. Face coverings should be worn by stylists and customers whenever practical. All employees (including stylists and barbers) should wear face coverings and gloves while providing services.

5. Items such as capes, smocks, drapes, and neck strips should be one-time-use between cleanings or disposable as much as possible.

6. Salon and shop owners must make appropriate modifications to accommodate social distancing. For instance, active workstations should be at least six-feet apart, with additional measures taken as necessary to ensure that all people stay six-feet apart at all times except for a staff member providing a service to a client. Physical barriers should be used where necessary.

7. Stylists should be encouraged to get tested before returning to work and to stay home if they test positive or have COVID-19 related symptoms.

8. Customers must be served by appointment only, except walk-ins may be permitted if walk-in customers wait in their vehicle for their turn.

9. There must be at least 15 minutes between client appointments for sanitizing the client area.

10. Salon and shop owners must perform regular disinfection of high-touch surface areas and equipment (e.g., door handles, counter space, light switches, tools and instruments).

11. Unless the customer is a minor, barber shops and hair salons must not allow non-customer companions to accompany customers during a service.

12. Owners are encouraged to implement other precautions provided for by the State here: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/close-contact-business-guidelines.html (current as of May 4, 2020).

• Summer camps can begin operating provided they adhere to the following guidelines that are based in the principles of smaller gatherings and social distancing. This guidance is primarily for outdoor-based summer camps, as spacing is easier to accomplish. Camps where the primary activity is indoors are encouraged to rethink their operation to move more activities outside and avoid small, confined, indoor spaces as much as possible. The owner/operator of these camps are responsible for enacting and enforcing these safety protocols. Individual plans should be crafted to adapt to the space and function of each operation, but the following necessary safety measures must be followed:

1. Activities must be organized so that camp participants are placed in small cohorts of no more than 10 for the day’s activities. Groups must distance from other groups by a minimum of six feet at all times, and individuals within groups must distance from each other by a minimum of six feet as much as is possible.

2. Staff is required to wear facial coverings or masks. Participants should be encouraged to wear facial coverings or masks when possible given the activity.

3. Camp staff shall be trained on constant enforcement of social distancing and all other relevant guidelines and sanitization procedures.

4. Camp participants and staff must undergo a symptom check before being allowed to enter each day. This includes all relevant symptom questions as outlined by CDC guidance and is encouraged to include a temperature scan.

5. Participants and staff must have easy and frequent access to hand washing and hand sanitizing stations, and the programming must allow for frequent usage of these (i.e., purposeful handwashing breaks, etc.).

6. Any high-touch areas, such as doorknobs and counters, must be cleaned on a regular schedule multiple times per day. Camp organizers must ensure that ample cleaning supplies are acquired to last through the duration of the program.

7. If a camp participant or staff tests positive for COVID-19, the camp and facility must immediately cease its operation and contact the Shelby County Health Department for cooperation with contact tracing. A roster of camp participants with contact information shall be kept to help facilitate this process.

8. Activities must be based outdoors as much as possible. Large indoor spaces, such as gyms or cafeterias, are preferred for activities if they are indoors. Smaller indoor spaces, such as classrooms or meeting rooms, must be avoided.

9. Activities with tactile experiences must be avoided as much as possible. To the extent they are used, staff shall sanitize equipment between use. Any shared belongings, supplies, or equipment must be avoided.

10. For any meals, campers and participants shall be seated at appropriate social distances, shared items should not be used, and pre-packaged meals are encouraged.

11. To the extent possible, camp sessions and/or individual activities within the camp day must be staggered to decrease the density of camp participants within spaces. Pickup or drop-offs also must be staggered when possible.

12. Only day camps shall be held at this time.

13. Limit non-essential personnel within the facility.

14. Off-site field trips must be limited if the transportation to those off-site events involves buses.

15. Communal rooms such as showers and locker rooms must be closed until further notice. Limit the number of camp participants in the bathroom at one time. Water fountains shall be closed and camp participants should be encouraged to bring their own water.

16. Singing or other voice projections must be avoided or greatly reduced/modified given the high risk of transmission. Any such activity must take place outdoors and campers must maintain at least 15 feet of difference – and more, if possible – between each other.

17. At the beginning of the camp, participants must undergo an age-appropriate curriculum or training about all of their obligations as outlined by the above guidelines. Reminders shall be provided daily. Age-appropriate signage must be posted reminding camp participants of the need to wash hands, to maintain social distance, and practice cough etiquette.

18. Camps based on sports activities must adhere to the above guidelines and take specific precautions based on the specific sport (classifications based on National Federation of State High School Associations guidance).

19. Low-risk (i.e., swimming, golf) sports camps can proceed provided that there is no shared equipment, social distancing is enforced, and groupings of camp participants are small.

20. Medium-risk (i.e., basketball, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, volleyball) sports camps can proceed provided that any contact elements are eliminated or greatly reduced and that the primary focus be on individual workouts and/or skills instruction. Social distancing must be enforced to the greatest extent possible and smaller groups are encouraged.

21. High-risk (i.e., wrestling, football, competitive cheer) sports camps are only allowed to proceed to the extent that the sole focus be on individual workouts and/or skills instruction. Social distancing must be enforced to the greatest extent possible and smaller groups are encouraged.

Daycare and childcare businesses, provided that they prioritize children of parents working as emergency/first responders or in essential services, 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 should follow the applicable specific protocols outlined in this Directive.

Hotels and commercial lodges will remain open with 50% occupancy for the number of people allowed in common areas. Tables should be spaced, and seating arrangements coordinated to maintain a distance of at least six feet between groups of visitors and/or customers. Groups should be limited to less than ten people, and individuals should adhere to individual safety measures. Pick-up and room-service food services may continue. If there is a hotel restaurant, guidance in this Directive regarding restaurants should be followed.

• Housing and rental services.

Manufacturing, Product Logistics, Transport/Distribution Centers, Call-Centers and other similar businesses that are not open to the public or do not rely on in-person interaction with its customers are allowed to reopen provided that the employees are wearing face coverings or masks, workspaces/work stations are arranged to allow 6 feet physical distancing, regularly sanitize equipment, prevent use of shared devices and implements, and observe all other general safety measures as specified above.

• Businesses that provide social services and other necessities of life for seniors, adults, children, or people with disabilities, substance use disorders, or mental illness. This includes residential facilities and shelters.

• Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and any other such facilities housing, treating, or caring for senior citizens, group homes, or other vulnerable populations shall remain operational consistent with the in the following manner:

1. In order to mitigate risk of COVID-19 transmission, persons are highly encouraged to continue to use available electronic or virtual communication options to spend time with a family member, friend, fellow resident, loved one, or other person (“Resident”) in a nursing home, retirement home, long­term care facility, assisted-living facility, or any other facility housing, treating, or caring for senior citizens or other vulnerable populations (“Facility” or “Facilities”).

2. Persons shall not visit a Resident in a Facility unless:

i. The Facility determines in its judgment that the visit:

(a) involves accommodations for support for Residents with disabilities, the provision of critical assistance to a Resident, or religious exercise; or

(b) is to a Resident receiving end­ of-life care; and

(c) may be accomplished without unreasonable risk to other Residents or staff;

OR

ii. The Facility determines in its judgment that the visit may be conducted in accordance with the Tennessee Department of Health's guidelines regarding Facility visitation, as may be periodically amended, which may be found at https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/LTCF_Visitation.pdf (as of June 18, 2020), and which permit:

(a) Visitation utilizing procedures designed to reduce Resident and staff risk of exposure to COVID-19, subject to any prerequisites and guidelines set forth by the Department; or

(b) Visitation to a Resident in a Facility when the visiting person has documentation that the visiting person has received a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) test result from a sample taken within a specified amount of time preceding the visit, subject to any prerequisites and requirements guidelines set forth by the Department.

3. In making such determinations, the Facility may seek the professional medical opinion of the Resident’s treating physician or other healthcare providers involved in the Resident’s care, as well as the Facility’s medical director, as applicable, on a case-by-case basis. Facilities should ensure that any Resident with disabilities is afforded visitation, as needed, by ancillary service providers (sign-language interpreters, behavioral health support personnel, etc.), or other visitation by persons necessary to support care decisions or disability-related needs, in order to maintain open lines of communication and continuation of needed services in light of individual Resident needs.

4. Facilities should continue to screen any permitted visitors, including support persons, for COVID-19 symptoms to reduce the risk of infection among Residents and Facility personnel.

5. Facilities shall at all times follow the Health Guidelines and any other infection control rules, policies, or recommendations or guidance set forth by

the Department of Health or other applicable state and federal agencies or departments.

6. Facilities shall take reasonable steps to minimize the movement of staff to more than one Facility location whenever possible.

7. Senior centers or equivalent facilities shall continue to be closed to members, customers, or the public; provided, that staff and volunteers may provide services via electronic or virtual means as circumstances permit. 

• Businesses related to the pursuit of essential activities may operate in furtherance of those activities as provided for in this Directive.

• Public/private non-residential schools are to remain closed, however, further guidance on reopening schools will be provided well in advance of when schools are scheduled to reopen for the Fall 2020 school year.

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.

_______________________

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 Shelby County Health Department (SCHD), as requested by the SCHD, demographic data regarding individuals tested or cared for by the provider. Such data shall be in such forms, formats and/or schedules that the SCHD 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 SCHD deems relevant and necessary to respond to and serve the needs of Shelby County related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Shelby County Health Department, with the assistance of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, is authorized to take emergent and immediate action to enforce this Directive.

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. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 


Other Resources for Businesses

Connect With Us