Memphis mask ordinance in effect after mayor’s signature

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Facial coverings are now required in public places in Memphis after Mayor Jim Strickland signed a mask ordinance Thursday.

People are required to wear facial coverings in businesses, government offices, hospitals, public transit and some public spaces within the city limits during the current public health emergency. 

The ordinance passed city council last week with a vote of nine in favor and four against after more than an hour of debating.

Facial coverings are not required for workers in private offices, diners after they have been seated in restaurants, children under 2, drivers in private vehicles, people who have trouble breathing or people who are outdoors and practicing social distancing.

Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said last week that part of the department’s role as far as the new Memphis mask ordinance will include marketing and education.

“We will partner with the city of Memphis in a variety of ways,” Haushalter said. “We do restaurant inspections, everyone is familiar with that. We will be monitoring mask usage in those restaurants.”

Enforcement is expected to be enforced by warnings for initial violations but no monetary fines or criminal penalties. Businesses may be fined $100.

The ordinance applies only within Memphis city limits.

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