Shelby County health department loosens more COVID-19 restrictions

By Diana Fedinec
March 18, 2021

Two new health directives that will lessen restrictions for restaurants, businesses and organizations operating in public places and lift mask usage for select populations will go into effect in Shelby County March 20.

The Shelby County Health Department earlier today issued Health Directive No. 19 that stipulates restaurants can now seat up to eight people at a table. Dine-in hours are extended and food service time limits and contract tracing are removed. Bartenders are no longer required to wear masks, but are encouraged to do so. Other key changes include requiring businesses to follow such safety measures as providing proper indoor ventilation, temperature screenings per shift and other safety protocols to remain open.

Per the Directive, schools, school systems, colleges and universities, through their governing boards and presidents, retain sole responsibility in making decisions on providing instruction to their students while protecting the health and safety of students and employees. Coaches, school officials and sponsors of any of sports/team event or activity must: 1) cooperate with the Health Department and provide names and contact information of participants or staff who may have been in contact with a COVID-19 case and 2) report to the Department any participant or staff who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has had contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Accompanying Directive No. 19 is Face Mask Directive No. 5 which recommends wearing medical and procedure grade masks or multi-layered masks, and disqualifies the use of scarves, ski masks and balaclavas. Additionally, individuals who were required to wear a face shield in lieu of a face mask due to medical conditions are no longer required to wear one, and persons with medical conditions declining to wear a face covering are no longer required to show proof of medical documentation.

In other news, individuals whose COVID-19 vaccinations appointments were cancelled on March 17, 2021 due to inclement weather must reschedule their own appointments. For information on available appointment times and vaccination sites, visit Citizens without internet access can call 901-222-7468 (SHOT) or 615-552-1998 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., seven days a week. Only individuals who meet the eligibility criteria and have an appointment will be vaccinated.

For more information about Shelby County's response to the pandemic, visit their COVID-19 website at For information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control.

All Southwest students, employees and visitors who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to self-report online on the coronavirus section of the Southwest website. The form only takes a few minutes to complete and all information will be kept strictly confidential.

Please review the College's infectious disease policy and stay tuned for updates via email and on the College’s coronavirus website at


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