What can you do if you see someone violating the city’s Safer at Home order?
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Memphians can call 311 to report violations of the order.
“Since issuing the Safer at Home order, I have received several complaints through emails, social media, and phone calls to my office about businesses not following our guidance,” the mayor said Tuesday afternoon. “I want to let you know that we have City of Memphis Code Enforcement Officers actively working through those complaints and making visits to businesses to ensure compliance every single day. However, they can’t be everywhere all the time, so please keep reaching out and letting us know about those few not taking this seriously.”
The mayor said the order is legally enforceable, and “We will take every measure available to enforce it.” This includes possibly issuing misdemeanor citations, revoking beer permits, and closures of businesses under nuisance abatement ordinances.
The directive issued by the Shelby County Health Department is also legally enforceable and applies to all residents of Shelby County.
Bruce Rudolph, county health officer, said Wednesday of the department’s directive: “As the health officer, I am empowered by law to be able to issue a directive that requires individuals and business to comply to our attempts to prevent and mitigate this communicable disease, COVID-19. And individuals and businesses who fail to comply can be charged with a misdemeanor. This is not a request or a recommendation but a requirement that is supported in law.
“It’s necessary we move in this direction because our numbers are climbing … And the main tool that we have to try to prevent deaths here in Shelby County is to adhere to what has been outlined in executive orders and the health directive.”
For businesses not complying to the order, Randolph said the first step is to issue an oral warning to comply, which “in my opinion, we’ve already done that.” The next step, he said, is to deliver a written order, asking the business to comply and advising that the health department will shut it down if it continues to violate the order.