A summary of the “Safer at Home” Health Directive is below:

During the four weeks from December 26, 2020 to January 22, 2021, residents of Shelby County are asked to remain home as much as possible.

Retail capacity decreased to 50%

Indoor dining capacity at 25%

Gyms and fitness facilities capacity decreased to 50%, including staff

Social activities related to entertainment and recreation should be curtailed because they expose everyone to unnecessary risks of spreading COVID-19. This would include, for example, indoor receptions, parties, or events that are not related to places of worship, weddings, and funerals.

Health Directive No. 16 strongly encourages employers to allow non-essential employees to work remotely (where feasible).

All previously approved events that were to occur during the effective dates of this “Safer at Home” should reschedule their event or contact the Health Department to determine whether their event may still proceed.

Businesses that provide goods or services exclusively through curbside service and pickup, drive-thru, shipment, delivery, or virtually may continue.

Certain listed businesses, including some that provide services to customers onsite, may continue to operate.

Due to the risk of viral transmission, Health Directive No. 16 strongly discourages any on-site dining.

All safety measures for individuals, services, and businesses that were in the previous Health Directive No. 15 will continue under the new Health Directive No. 16.

The Health Department also released today Face Mask Directive No. 4, which:

Clarifies that masks are required in gyms and fitness facilities unless a customer has a medical condition that prevents him/her from wearing a mask, and if that is the case, a face shield is required.Clarifies that language for dining experiences to require a mask unless a customer is “seated and dining (eating/drinking).”Full text of Health Directive No. 16 and Face Mask Order No. 4 may be viewed at

Health Directive No. 16 is necessary because in recent weeks, transmission of the virus has accelerated at an alarming pace. Over the past seven days, Shelby County has averaged more than 670 new cases per day and more than six deaths per day.

Hospital ICU utilization in our region has exceeded 90% every day since December 7.  The influx of COVID-positive patients increasingly strains our health care systems. The Tennessee Department of Health reports that COVID-19 patients account for an average of 25 percent of all inpatient hospital beds and an average of 40 percent of all intensive care unit beds statewide. The influx of COVID-19 patients is putting a severe strain on our 'region's health care systems. Continued spread of the virus threatens to overwhelm the health care providers we all depend on to provide needed care.

"The virus has the potential to spread exponentially across our state. Without the necessary statewide interventions, we have to turn to the tools we have at the local level. Unless we take reasonable action to reduce social gathering, we expect that January could have the highest numbers since the beginning of the pandemic."

Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC
Director, Shelby County Health Department