Shelby County to begin phase 3 of reopening Monday

Updated: Jun. 14, 2020 at 5:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department confirmed 80 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday morning. It comes as the county prepares to enter phase three of the “Back to Business” reopening plan on Monday.

Under phase three, grocery stores, restaurants, libraries, gyms and retail stores may operate at 75% capacity.

Group gatherings are still limited to 50, unless there's a clear social distancing plan.

“We can move into phase three, that allows people to be more engaged with society. It allows us to plan for children to go back to school. It allows businesses to get back to their typical business,” said Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Shelby Co. Health Department Director.

But numbers the Shelby County Health Department released show COVID-19 remains a threat.

The health department reported 80 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,636 in Shelby County.

The health department says 139 people have died and just under 4,700 people in Shelby County have recovered.

Statewide, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 415 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 29,541. The department said 472 people have died, as of Saturday.

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, who organized a mask giveaway over the weekend, says reopening Tennessee despite rising COVID-19 numbers is concerning.

“That whole thing was not about your health,” said Parkinson. “That whole thing was about because businesses were hurting, and so they decided to push and push and push to reopen, and now we’re seeing the results of that.”

But Haushalter told WMC Action News 5 last week that the rising numbers in the county were no cause for immediate concern.

She says the key is to find balance.

"We have to balance protecting the public from COVID-19 while ensuring that we have economic success as a community, that we have educational success as a community and that we have employment success," said Haushalter.

Shelby County health leaders are still strongly encouraging people to practice social distancing and wearing masks while in public.

Memphis city leaders say community testing sites may shift as officials find more permanent locations this summer.

Read more coronavirus coverage here

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