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A Back-to-Business Framework for Memphis & Shelby County

Working through the Joint COVID-19 Task Force, Shelby County government, the City of Memphis, and the six suburban municipalities have implemented proactive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. These measures have helped mitigate the progression of the disease locally.

While the community should remain vigilant about adhering to social distancing guidelines and hygiene practices, local governments must also evaluate introducing measures that alleviate some burdens on the economy — while also balancing the need to protect citizens. A phased approach, informed by data and constantly monitored and adjusted, is the most prudent strategy for this. The approach will be informed by indicators (measurements of the status of the pandemic) and conditions (measurements of our capacity to deal with the pandemic), with policies and phasing flowing in response.

About this Framework

A flexible, data-driven approach to implementation of this framework is paramount. Additional phases and appropriate guidelines will be added as needed based on available data and expert recommendations. A dedicated email address and workflow will be established for authorities to consider and evaluate proposals for entities and/or industry groups to use alternative or additional methods of compliance.

Public messaging must be clear about the fluidity of this framework, so as to balance expectations with the requirement of adjusting guidelines based on data.

Shelby County, the City of Memphis, and the six suburban municipalities will enact this Back to Business framework through any applicable orders, including mayoral executive orders, resolutions, and ordinances. It is vitally important that as much as is practicable, the entire region operate under the same set of guidelines.

Shelby County, the City of Memphis, and the six suburban municipalities will vigorously enforce the orders developed from this plan, subject to the authorities granted. Success of the phased approach depends on consistent and timely communication, collaboration, and enforcement, as well as compliance by individual entities and the public.

In this framework, you will find the following items:

  1. Indicators and conditions that will drive decision-making
  2. Recommendations for each re-opening phase, including universal guidelines for all phases
  3. COVID-19 Compliant Protocol
  4. A grid (separate document) of sector-specific conditions for each phase

Indicators and conditions

The framework for this phased re-opening is premised on the following indicators and conditions:

In addition, the following contextual indicators will be monitored to provide further information for decision-making:

  • Trend in COVID-19 deaths
  • Hospitalizations of COVID-19 positive patients
  • Percentage of ventilators utilized in healthcare system
  • Percentage of hospital beds utilized in healthcare system
  • COVID-19 Compliant Protocol compliance by entities, monitoring reports from law and code enforcement
  • Social distancing compliance by members of the public
  • Adequate supplies of PPE, monitoring inventory assessments of healthcare system and Joint Task Force (for first responders)

Using the above metrics, the Back to Business subgroup of the Joint Task Force will meet frequently to review, evaluate potential adjustments, and make recommendations to leadership. This could include reversals of advancements between phases based on negative trends in the data and metrics. Trends that would prompt a reversal do not necessarily have to be 14-day trends.

A dashboard of these metrics will be created for ongoing decision support and public visibility on progress toward phase implementation.

Phase Guidelines

Universal requirements applicable to all phases

All entities must comply with the following universal guidelines, which are applicable to all phases:

  • Implementation of COVID-19 Compliant Protocol (CCP) (attached as Appendix A).
  • Adherence to social distancing protocol as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Adherence to sanitization practices as outlined by the CDC.
  • Encourage and facilitate telework and minimize business travel to the greatest extent possible.
  • Implementation of policies to ensure employees do not work when ill.
  • Adherence to all other applicable CDC and industry “best practice” guidance and regulations.

Phase One

Indicators and conditions to enter this phase:

  • New cases: Green
  • System capacity: Green or yellow
  • Public health capacity: Green on all categories
  • Testing: Green or yellow (availability), green (capacity), green (timing)

General recommendations

  • Operations remain status quo for entities currently deemed essential, provided they continue to meet the CCP conditions.
  • Entities currently deemed non-essential, which have limited personal contact between staff and/or visitors, may re-open facilities with restrictions and limited occupancy as outlined in the sector-specific framework. This includes restaurants and gyms/fitness facilities.
  • Purposeful groups of more than 10 are not permitted.
  • Indoor and outdoor facilities and public spaces may open for general recreation and non-contact sports subject to the restrictions of the CCP.
  • Non-essential manufacturers/distributors, as well as offices and call centers, may re-open with restrictions and limited occupancy as outlined in the sector-specific framework.
  • Elective medical procedures that are deemed medically necessary may resume.

Phase Two

Indicators and conditions to enter this phase

  • New cases: Green for a 14-day period after entering Phase One
  • System capacity: Green or yellow
  • Public health capacity: Green on all categories
  • Testing: Green or yellow (availability), green (capacity), green (timing)

General recommendations

  • Non-essential businesses with close personal contact, such as hair and nail salons, may re-open with restrictions and limited occupancy as outlined in the sector-specific framework.
  • Facilities for contact sports may re-open with restrictions and limited occupancy as outlined in the sector-specific framework.
  • Purposeful groups of 50 or more not permitted.

Phase Three

Indicators and conditions to enter this phase

  • New cases: Green for a 14-day period after entering Phase Two
  • System capacity: Green or yellow
  • Public health capacity: Green on all categories
  • Testing: Green (availability), green (capacity), green (timing)

General recommendations

  • Purposeful groups of 50 or more are not permitted, although gatherings of 50+ may be allowable if supported by the characteristics of the space and a clear social distancing plan.
  • Larger venues may be permitted to operate under limited capacity and physical distancing protocols.

Appendix A: COVID-19 Compliant Protocol

All entities will be required to adhere to this protocol, which will be posted in checklist format for entities to print and utilize. The standards may be revised from time to time, based on data and expert recommendations.

Signage

  • Post a sign at each public entrance to the facility to inform all employees and customers that they should:
    • Avoid entering the facility if they have a cough, fever, or other signs/symptoms of COVID-19
    • Maintain a minimum six-foot distance between individuals, or entire household units of up to six persons defined as residing at the same address, and other individuals
    • Sneeze or cough into a cloth or tissue or, if unavailable, into one’s arm
    • Not shake hands of engage in any unnecessary physical contact
  • Post a copy of the COVID-19 Compliant Protocol at each public entrance to the facility.

Measures to protect employee health (where applicable to the facility)

  • Everyone who can carry out their work duties from home, as determined by their employer, has been directed to do so.
  • All employees have been told not to come to work if they are sick.
  • Relevant COVID-19 symptom screenings are being conducted before employees may enter the work space.
  • Employers must establish work arrangements so that employees are separated by at least six feet or an impermeable barrier while at their desks or individual work stations.
  • Break rooms, restrooms, other common areas, and high-tough surfaces are being disinfected frequently, on the following schedule:
    • Break rooms: [Entity must specify]
    • Restrooms: [Entity must specify]
    • Other: [Entity must specify]
  • Disinfectant and related supplies are available to all employees at the following locations: [Entity must specify]
  • Hand sanitizer effective against COVID-19 is available to all employees at the following locations: [Entity must specify]
  • Soap and water are available to all employees at the following locations: [Entity must specify]
  • Facial coverings are available to all employees whose duties and interactions with fellow employees subject them to CDC recommendations requiring them.
  • Copies of this Protocol have been distributed to all employees.
  • Other measures to protect employees: [Entity may specify]

Measures to protect visitor/customer health

  • Disinfecting wipes or comparable disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19 are available near items frequently touched by visitors, such as shopping carts or baskets.
  • Employee(s) assigned to regularly disinfect items frequently touched by visitors.
  • Hand sanitizer, soap and water, or other disinfectant effective against COVID-19 are available to visitors at or near the entrance of the facility and at transaction points.
  • All methods for contactless transactions are implemented. Where this is not feasible, components of transaction points such as portals, pens, and styluses are disinfected after each use.
  • All other high-contact surfaces must frequently be disinfected.
  • Other measures to protect visitors/customers: [Entity may specify]

Measures to ensure physical separation

  • For entities and indoor locations where staff and/or visitors generally circulate, limit the number of visitors in the facility at any one time to occupancy percentages specified in the framework.
  • For entities and indoor locations where staff and/or visitors are generally stationary, people must be kept a minimum of six feet apart as measured in a straight line from one person or member of a household unit to the next closest person, not including an impermeable internal or external wall or divider of at least eight feet high.
  • Post an employee at entrance doors to ensure that the maximum number of customers in the facility, as specified above, is not exceeded.
  • Place signs outside the facility reminding people to be at least six feet apart when inside the facility, including when in any lines.
  • Placing tape or other markings at least six feet apart in customer or employee line areas inside facilities and on sidewalks at public entrances with signs directing customers to use the markings to maintain distance.
  • Separate order areas from delivery/fulfillment areas to prevent customers from gathering.
  • Instruct employees to maintain at least a six-foot distance from customers and from each other, except employees may momentarily come closer when necessary to accept payment, deliver goods or services, or as otherwise necessary.
  • To reduce crowds and lines, place per-person or household unit limits on goods that are selling out quickly. [Entity may explain.]
  • Other measures to ensure physical separation: [Entity may explain]

Measures to prevent unnecessary contact

  • Prevent visitors from self-serving any food items.
  • Provide items such as lids for cups and condiments by staff, not for customers to procure on their own.
  • Bulk-item food or supply bins are not available for customer self-service use.
  • Consider providing specific hours only for specific populations such as seniors and pregnant women.
  • Other measures to prevent unnecessary contact: [Entity may specify]

A Back-to-Business Framework for Memphis & Shelby County