May 4, 2020! That’s the date it has been determined to begin phase one of the Memphis-area Back to Business framework for reopening.
The decision, local officials said, came 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.
“As we said at the beginning of this week, our data was trending in the right direction,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “Along with our doctors, we believe it’s time to slowly start opening our economy back up and get Memphians working again.”
Monitoring of the situation will continue, he said, “to make sure our citizens remain safe and healthy.”
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris echoed the need to stay vigilant and noted the “serious sacrifices” of the community.
“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 Memphis and Shelby center Phase 1, “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,” said Harris.
Dr. Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department, said, “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.”
Referencing data, Dr. Jon McCullers at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, said, “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.”
The suburban mayors issued these statements:
“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 4, 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 pleased to announce that the Town of Collierville is doing what is best for our community and will be re-opening businesses next week.” – Mayor Stan Joyner, Town of Collierville
“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
To see the full plan guidelines, visit COVID19.memphistn.gov.