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The original item was published from 7/24/2020 8:39:14 AM to 11/18/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Community Updates

Posted on: July 24, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Mayor Lee Harris’ Update on the Importance of Masking Up to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

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We continue to adjust to life amid COVID-19, since the virus will likely be with us for the foreseeable future. We have all made important sacrifices. But we are at a pivotal point, and we must not let up. That’s why masks are now required in public settings. Please see the Shelby County Health Directive issued on July 3rd, 2020, for more information.

Wearing a mask or facial covering is a simple and effective way to protect yourself and others from spreading COVID-19. The CDC makes this recommendation based on what we know about how the virus spreads through respiratory droplets traveling in the air and onto others when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. Studies show that masks, when worn correctly over the mouth and nose, reduce the spread of droplets, thereby slowing the spread of the virus to others. The regular use of masks is one of the best ways for us to get back to school, to business, and to community in our county.

However, we still have work to do, based on recent study results. According to a study carried out by the University of Memphis and the Shelby County Health Department, only 51% of the Shelby County population is wearing a mask in public.

Recent Data on Masking Use in Shelby County

Mask use increased with Age: highest use among older adults (64%)

Highest Mask use among Asians: 91%, followed by African Americans (53%); Caucasians (51%) 

Lowest Mask use among Hispanic/Latinx (34%) 

Greater mask usage in LOW transmission zip codes (58%) vs. HIGH transmission zip codes (46%) 

Source: University of Memphis School of Public Health Study


Any mask or facial covering will help to slow the spread of COVID-19. There are several locations where you can pick up a mask for free (no appointment necessary). You can find those locations here.

I am grateful for the hard work and many sacrifices of the residents of Shelby County. If we each do what we can to reduce the spread and embrace new habits, like social distancing and masking up, we will see progress. We all have a role to play. Mask up.


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