Memphis and Shelby County to Re-Open May 4

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  • Volunteers load food into a car at a mobile food pantry

Leaders from across Shelby County announced Thursday that phase one of the Back to Business plan will begin on Monday, May 4th.

Here's the statement in full:

After careful study of the data, and on the advice of our medical experts including the Shelby County Health Department, the mayors of Memphis, Shelby County, and the six surrounding municipalities have determined that May 4th, 2020 is the date that we can begin phase one of our Back to Business framework.

“As we said at the beginning of this week, our data was trending in the right direction. Along with our doctors, we believe it’s time to slowly start opening our economy back up and get Memphians working again. As we have said since the beginning, we will continue to monitor this situation very closely to make sure our citizens remain safe and healthy.”
— Mayor Jim Strickland, city of Memphis

“As we enter the first phase of the economic recovery, I have to note that members of our community have made serious sacrifices. We have residents who have put their livelihoods and their ability to take care of their families on the line. We have healthcare employees and other frontline workers who have continued to serve through a very tough period of hardship.



As we enter Phase 1, we must continue to be vigilant as a community. We must expand our efforts to protect vulnerable groups. And, if there is a significant flare up, we must be prepared to be honest about it.”
— Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris

“We have been watching the data carefully and have continued to improve, particularly in hospital capacity and testing capacity, both of which continue to expand. Over this next phase, we will need to commit to expand our public health capacity to conduct investigations and aggressively respond to clusters as they emerge.”
— Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Director, Shelby County Health Department

“Based on the data, I believe we have a stable rate of new cases, have seen a decline in utilization of hospital beds and are now in a steady state with day to day variation in bed utilization. We have sufficient capacity in the hospitals, in our testing capacity, and public health areas to justify relaxing some restrictions at this time. Throughout the reopening, we will continue to monitor the data as it comes to us.”
— Dr. Jon McCullers, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

“I’m glad to stand beside all the mayors of Shelby Co in support of announcing a date to reopen. The Health Department plays a vital role in our community, but we as elected leaders have to look at the overall health of our entire community. Our citizens are crying for help on so many levels, and we need to help them on every level possible by re-opening with guidelines.”

— Mayor Mike Wissman, city of Arlington


“Effective Monday, May 4th, 2020 the City of Bartlett, along with Shelby County and the other municipalities within Shelby County, will be entering into Phase I of the Back-to- Business framework document. We, as others, are anxious to get the economy started again. This does not mean that you should let your guard down. Some people will still need to stay at home.”
— Mayor Keith McDonald, city of Bartlett

"We are grateful for your thoughtful diligence in following the guidelines for staying home and practicing social distancing. While these practices have gotten us to the point where we are comfortable with a phased reopening of our economy, it's not the time to forget those good habits that we have established. Stay home when you can, wash your hands and wear a mask in public. We must work together to ensure that this reopening is successful."
— Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo

"Today, I'm excited to stand with the leadership of Shelby County and announce the date for reopening our businesses. I want to thank the citizens and businesses of Lakeland for their patience and cooperation during these unprecedented times.

This is only the first step in the process and we must remain vigilant with safety measures including social distancing, wearing masks, and staying home as much as possible. I'm confident that as a community we can achieve success and get back to a sense of normalcy."
— Mayor Mike Cunningham, city of Lakeland

“We’ve been working together for weeks on this, and I appreciate the unified effort. I believe this is the best way to move forward, in unity.”
— Mayor Terry Jones, city of Millington

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