Updated Post: The Memphis City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that will require residents to wear face masks in public.
The ordinance is sponsored by Councilman Jeff Warren, along with Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas, who told the council “taking precautions are better than leaving it to ‘could have, would have, should have.” Easter Thomas added that the city does not have hard data showing that the number of positive cases will begin to increase.
Eleven of the 13 council members voted in favor of the ordinance, while council members Frank Colvett Jr. and Worth Morgan abstained.
The council will return to the ordinance on May 19th for the second of three votes.
Original Post: The Memphis City Council is looking to require residents to wear face masks in public places, as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise here.
Councilman Jeff Warren presented the ordinance to the council Tuesday afternoon, saying that as the city begins to reopen, there needs to be an effort to curb the number of cases here.
Council members JB Smiley Jr. and J. Ford Canale were hesitant to support the measure, saying it could place an extra burden on residents if they are fined for not wearing a mask. Canale also expressed concern about the availability of masks.
The council gave the ordinance a negative recommendation, but will vote on the first of three readings of the measure at its full meeting beginning at 3:30 p.m. today (Tuesday). The ordinance would have to be passed on three readings to become law.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended since early April that all individuals wear masks in public places. Other cities across the country, such as Denver, San Antonio, and Birmingham have already instituted some form of face mask requirements.