New health directive ‘strongly encourages’ employers to require COVID-19 vaccines

Booster shots available for some
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 11:22 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department is issuing a new health directive that extends some masking requirements from the previous directive and strongly encourages employers to require COVID-19 vaccines or regular testing for unvaccinated employees.

Health Order No. 25 goes into effect Aug. 31 and lasts through Sept. 30.

Masks are still required in Shelby County with the new directive in the following circumstances unless a valid exemption applies:

Exceptions include:

  • You are a child under the age of 2 years.
  • You are seated in a restaurant or bar for the purpose of eating and drinking.
  • You are engaged in other activities that require removal of a mask, such as cardio activities inside a gym, grooming activities requiring access to the nose and mouth area, or when performing in theatre performances.
  • You are in a place of worship and the place of worship does not require you to wear a mask.
  • You are in an indoor setting that is not open to the public.
  • You are a person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability.
  • You are a person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by a workplace risk assessment.
  • You are a preK-12 grade school student and your parent has submitted a written notification that you are opting out of wearing a mask according to Governor Lee’s Executive Order No 84, unless that order is no longer in effect.

The new health order strongly encourages vaccinations for everyone eligible -- people 12 and older -- and clarifies the availability of third doses as booster shots, which are now available for people who are immunocompromised.

The health directive also strongly encourages employers to require a COVID-19 vaccination or regular testing for all unvaccinated employees, including those who are asymptomatic.

Shelby County reported 697 new COVID-19 cases Friday and nine more deaths. There are currently 8,364 active cases. The seven-day average of new cases is 731.

The most recent weekly test positivity rate is 21.2 percent for the week ending Aug. 14. It’s been above 20 for three consecutive weeks.

See more data on the Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

So far, 363,985 people in Shelby County are fully vaccinated with another 94,719 partially vaccinated. Nearly 15,000 vaccines were administered in the last seven days.

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