COVID-19 Update from Mayor Strickland (5-18)

As you may have heard earlier, we are moving in to Phase II of our Back-to-Business plan effective today. Based on our data over the last two weeks and the opinions of our medical experts, we felt that we could safely move into this next phase.

When we moved into Phase I two weeks ago, one of the doctors advising us noted that our new positive cases had plateaued at between 60-90 per day and our COVID-19 hospitalizations were between 100-120 each day and that this data allowed us to proceed into the first phase.

At this time, these numbers remain the same with the exception of a slight increase in hospitalizations over the last five days. This weekend, the Health Department, the doctors advising us, and the hospital administrators met by phone and determined that there was sufficient capacity at our hospitals, which taken together with other data (significant increase in testing and the reduction of the positivity rate to 7.2%) allowed us to proceed into Phase II more safely.

The notable changes between Phase I and II are:

  • Acceptable group numbers grow from 10-50; however, social distancing is still required and wearing masks strongly encouraged
  • Library capacity grow from 25% to 50%
  • Gyms/fitness facilities capacity grow from 25% to 50%
  • Recreation facilities (bowling centers, mini-golf, driving ranges, arcades, dance classes, axe throwing venues) Open at 50 percent capacity. All persons must remain in groups of less than 10 people, and groups should maintain at least six feet separation from and avoid physical contact with other persons or groups outside of their own groups. Compliance with these guidelines:
  • Contact sports facilities (basketball courts, baseball fields, martial arts, etc.) Open, following all industry-specific protocols HERE
  • Car washes open, with restrictions outlined HERE
  • Other personal appearance businesses (nail salons, tattoo shops, spas, etc.) open, with additional industry-specific protocols HERE
  • Pools open to allow fitness-focused swimming and reduced recreational swimming with safety precautions. Follow all additional industry-specific protocols HERE

For more information on Phase II, visit here.

Breaking down the numbers: Below is a chart that takes a look at our data points over the last several weeks.

Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: May 18, 2020

COVID-19 Cases
Shelby County Cases3761
Total Tested in Shelby County52,227
Tennessee Total Cases18,011
*As of 2:00 p.m. 5/18/20
Other Jurisdictions:
Tipton County, TN403
Desoto County, MS386
Crittenden County, AR234
Numbers current as of 10:00 a.m. 5/18/2020

Based on the four criteria the COVID-19 Joint Task Force has been monitoring, including the growth in new cases, health care systems capacity, public health system capacity, and testing capacity,  the Task Force has made the decision to begin Phase II of the Back to Business plan today.

“I am grateful for the hard work and many sacrifices of the residents of Shelby County. We have seen encouraging results because of a collective willingness to do all that we can to reduce the spread and embrace new skills, like social distancing. Although we still have a long way to go in Shelby County’s fight against COVID-19, we have made substantial progress and are therefore prepared to enter Phase 2. We all played a role in getting to this important mile marker. We all have a role to play to get to the next one.” –Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris

“Over the last 14 days, we’ve been closely monitoring the data,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “Based on the opinion of our medical experts, we are ready to move to Phase ll of our Back-to Business plan allowing more Memphians back to work in a safer way.”—City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland

“With the necessary precautions we have made the improvements needed to move to Phase 2. I am happy more people can get back to work.”—City of Bartlett Mayor A. Keith McDonald

“Thanks to citizens diligence in social distancing, staying at home, wearing mask and the other things you have done to protect yourselves and others, we are able to move to phase 2.  Keep up the good work!!”—Town of Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner 

The Shelby County Health Department will soon issue a new Health Directive #4 with new orders and recommendations for individuals and businesses as we move into Phase II. Once issued, that Health Directive will be posted on the Shelby County Health Department website here:

For more information about the Safer at Home order or to register concerns about businesses, the public may contact:

· The Shelby County Mayor’s Action Line: 901-222-2300

· The Shelby County Health Department’s COVID-19 Hotline: 833-943-1658

· Email