MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Nearly a year after requiring people to wear face masks in many public settings to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Memphis will stop enforcing the mandate on Saturday, Mayor Jim Strickland said.
People must still wear a face mask if they are inside a city facility and city government will continue to follow guidelines recommending masks in public settings indoors, Strickland tweeted on Thursday. He said private businesses and churches may continue to require masking and the city encourages people to mask in public until 70% of the Shelby County population is vaccinated.
The city doesn't have stand-alone authority to mandate masks, he said. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recently ended his declaration of a state-wide public health emergency and the Shelby County Health Department lifted its mask mandate.
Lee declared last month that COVID-19 is no longer a statewide public health crisis. He removed the option for most local governments to mandate masks in public and urged a few big counties with restrictions like mask requirements to remove them on their own by Memorial Day.