Facebook/Mid-South Food Bank
Volunteers load food into a car at a mobile food pantry.
Shelby Counties and its cities should not open more economic and social activities until at least June 15th, according to the Shelby County Health Department.
On Monday afternoon, the health department issued its recommendation on moving into Phase III
of the county's Back to Business plan. Health officials here delayed moving to the next step last week. Also, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland pushed the city's move to Phase III to June 16th, next Tuesday.
"The recommendation comes after careful analysis of data since the move to Phase II on May 19th, 2020," reads a statement for the health department. "We have seen an increase in daily case numbers, particularly after the Memorial Day weekend. For that reason, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and the Shelby County Health Department have decided to maintain the current COVID-19 response level at this time."
"Unless there are extraordinary changes in the metrics between now and June 15th, we expect to be able advance to Phase III on that date. But in the meantime, the health department will continue to monitor new cases, positivity rate, reproduction rate, testing capacity, hospital capacity, and public health capacity."
In Phase III, occupancy limits at now-opened facilities like restaurants and grocery stores can increase to 75 percent. The next phase cracks the door to the re-opening of venues like theaters and to events like parades and festivals. However, those all must meet specific criteria before they can re-open.