Memphis, Shelby County municipalities issue ‘safer-at-home’ orders to curb the spread of COVID-19

Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 5:54 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2020 at 5:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The mayors Memphis and the Shelby County municipalities have issued “safer-at-home” orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. The order does not include a city curfew.

“We are in serious, unprecedented times," Strickland said at a news conference Monday where he was joined by representatives from the area’s hospital systems. “There has to be personal responsibility. You must take social distancing seriously.”

The other municipalities are expected to follow with similar orders. Nashville’s mayor announced a similar initiative Sunday.

Under the orders, only employees at essential businesses, like police, fire, grocery stores and gas stations, are still being allowed to travel to work.

“These are unprecedented times, and make no mistake, our medical community making those recommendations understands the burden that this puts on everyone,” said Dr. Jimmie Mancell, chief of medicine at Methodist University Hospital. “But we also understand if we don’t take it seriously what can be coming down the road.”

The medical communities signed on to the order because they said it is an important preventative measure. By their estimates, we are about two weeks behind on peaking with respect to case numbers in the Memphis-area. They said an order to remain at home can help keep the number of infections down among all of us but especially in hospitals.

“While some of this may seem a nuisance or punishment to the community, nothing could be further from the truth,” said Dr. Martin Croce, chief medical officer at Regional One. “This is a serious illness. It’s a serious disease that causes significant problems.”

“We’re working to ensure that not only the community remains safe, but members of the healthcare community remain safe as well, so that they can provide care,” said Keith Norman, vice-president of government affairs with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation.

Click here to see a list of essential and nonessential services

There is no curfew requirement, and the orders will have no effect on meal distribution programs.

  • Arlington order effective March 24 at 6 p.m. until March 28 unless otherwise extended.
  • Bartlett order effective midnight March 24 until midnight March 31 unless otherwise extended.
  • Collierville order effective March 24 at 6 p.m. until further notice.
  • Germantown order effective March 24 at 6 p.m. until further notice.
  • Lakeland order effective March 24 at 6 p.m. until March 28 unless otherwise extended.
  • Memphis order effective March 24 at 6 p.m. until April 7 unless otherwise extended.
  • Millington order effective March 24 at 6 p.m. until March 28 unless otherwise extended.

The safer-at-home order directs all residents to stay inside their homes and limit all movement outside beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs. If residents must leave their homes, they are urged to stay at least six feet away from others.

The City of Memphis is creating a FAQ section here and a form to submit questions not already addressed.

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers
  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

Here is a list of resources for Mid-Southerns impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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