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Posted on: April 8, 2020

Addendum to Health Directive No. 2

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April 7, 2020



TO:                 Citizens of Shelby County, Tennessee

FROM:           Bruce Randolph, M.D., M.P.H, Shelby County Health Officer

RE:                 Public Health Announcement on COVID-19 Response


On April 4, 2020, as the Health Officer for Shelby County, I formally issued Health Directive No. 2 which supersedes any other prior Health Directive (written or oral) issued by this office.  This Addendum to Health Directive No. 2 serves to provide further clarification with regards to its application to operations of places/gatherings of worship, restaurants, and hotels.

Places of and Gatherings to Worship

            Health Directive No. 2 considers visiting a place of worship as an “Essential Activity” and it states:

“Visiting a place of worship, provided that the health guidelines issued by the CDC, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Shelby County Health Department are followed, and further, any public celebrations or gatherings of more than 10 people, whether religious or secular in nature, should be postponed” 

      Health Directive No. 2 does not close all places of worship. A place of worship, for example a church, mosque, or synagogue, can allow people to gather if they do the following:

  • Gathering has no more than 10 people
  • People must be 6 feet apart
  • We recommend that people wear a mask or covering but it is not required.

By way of example, if a family wishes to mourn the loss of a loved one during this difficult time, they may consider having a small gathering of no more than 10[IM1] people at their church with their minister. If people wish to come up with some creative way to worship, that is fine if social distancing is maintained, and the gathering of no more than 10 people occurs. It is imperative that all such creative procedures adhere to social distancing guidelines set forth by the CDC, Tennessee Department of Health, and the Shelby County Health Department.

Essential Services, including Restaurants/Food Services

With regards to “essential services” permitted to continue, Health Directive No. 2 states:

“Legally permitted restaurants and other businesses that provide goods or services exclusively through curbside pick-up, drive-thru, shipment or delivery, are permitted to continue, with the limitation that there are no more than ten (10) employees within the establishment at any one time and that those employees are minimally six (6) feet apart.  This shall include any business that did not previously provide goods or services in this manner but obtains a legal permit and develops a procedure to provide its goods and services in this manner.  This Directive does not permit on-site dining.”

If necessary, these businesses may permit patrons to enter the premises to pick up an order, for example, restaurants may permit individuals to enter to pick up food for carry-out dining.  Note that dine-in service is not permitted, and patrons are not permitted to sit inside the restaurant or business premises to wait on a carry-out order. 

Restaurants or businesses that do not already offer a “drive-thru” order service are strongly encouraged to avoid allowing lines to form by requesting that patrons place their food or other orders in advance by telephone, online, or other remote means, and request that they wait in their vehicle until the order is ready.  If patrons do not have a vehicle, or if they must enter the premises for order, payment, and/or pick-up, access should be restricted to one patron at a time whenever possible.  However, should patrons have a need to form a line inside or outside of the premises, they must remain a minimum of 6-feet apart and in no event are more than 10 patrons at a time permitted to be inside the premises.

Hotels and Lodging

With regards to hotels, Health Directive No. 2 states:

“Hotels and commercial lodges will remain open but must end entertainment or dining services in restaurants or group settings.  Pick-up and room-service food services may continue.”

While hotels and commercial lodges should limit any patron gatherings in common areas to no more than 10 people, they are not required to limit the number of patrons that can stay at each location to 10 people. In accordance with Health Directive No. 2, these establishments must ensure additional steps are taken to enhance personal hygiene of employees and to provide extraordinary sanitization efforts within the facilities themselves.

General Guidance

Limiting close contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Therefore, we require all to practice social distancing.  Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • Wearing a mask or covering over your nose and mouth when you are outside of your home

Please keep in mind that the goal is safety while balancing the needs of citizens to receive the necessities of life, i.e., food and shelter. Every effort should be made by operators of essential businesses and providers of essential services to take steps to stop the spread of this deadly disease.  These prophylactic actions are meant to protect everyone.

Your Right of Review

If you feel this Directive has been issued in error, you may request a review by the TDH’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tim Jones (615) 741-3111, or a designee. Dr. Jones, or a designee, will review your request within five (5) business days of its receipt, and you will receive a decision in writing. You may also request that the TDH obtain a court order containing the provisions of this Directive. If you request this option, the TDH will take the matter to an available and appropriate court of record. Please be aware you are still required to abide by all the provisions contained in this Health Directive during any review process.

Dr. Randolph Signature


cc: Dr. Tim Jones

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