New face mask, health directives coming

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 16, 2021 3:25 PM CT | Published: March 16, 2021 12:21 PM CT

New face mask and health directives are coming to Shelby County.

The new face mask directive will be effective Wednesday, March 17. The new health directive will be effective Saturday, March 20.

Next health directive expected to relax restaurant rules

In the new mask directive, according to Shelby County Health Department health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph, people who cannot medically tolerate masks will no longer be required to provide medical documentation. 

Masks will still be required in public places, including gyms and all other businesses.

Under the current mask directive, people who were not able to wear masks are required to wear face shields. In the new directive, the shields will no longer be necessary.

“That was primarily directed at those who were going to gyms,” Randolph said.

Because the Centers for Disease Control guidance says shields are not an effective substitute for masks, the county Health Department decided to remove the requirement. 

“The new directive will potentially affect interaction and communication with our members to make sure they are compliant with the mask mandate,” said Katie Veach, executive director of the Kroc Center.

“We have a few members who wear shields. We’ll see what comes out,” she said. “Whatever is stated by the city, we will enforce.”

The mandate includes other mask exemptions, Randolph said.

In the new health directive, restaurants may stay open to 1 a.m.; patrons may be on the premises until 1:30 a.m. if they are still eating at 1 a.m., Randolph said.

Up to eight people in the same family or close contacts of each may be seated together at one table, up from the current six.

People seated at bars must be separated by six feet. Everyone must wear a mask unless they are “actively dining,” Randolph said.


face mask directive health directive Kroc Center Katie Veach Dr. Bruce Rand
Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts

Longtime journalist Jane Roberts is a Minnesotan by birth and a Memphian by choice. She's lived and reported in the city more than two decades. She covers business news and features for The Daily Memphian.