What to expect when you’re expecting to reopen


WREG Memphis

Though the CDC recommends a six-foot space for social distancing, this gap may not prove as effective as possible. A full force sneeze can travel up to 27 feet, yet another reason to wear a mask to keep your droplets in and others’ droplets out.

Amidst the chaos in Shelby County that began in March, a new wave of hope and speculation has surfaced alongside the county’s Back to Business Plan. May 4 began Phase One of the business reopenings for Memphis and surrounding areas, which includes hair establishments, restaurants, gyms, libraries and churches, all at a reduced capacity. 

Though these businesses are open and boasting cleanliness, the best option is still to adhere to social distancing policies, having essentials delivered and staying home whenever possible. In the event that an excursion is necessary,  the CDC recommends that a cloth mask—leave the N95 masks for the healthcare providers —should be worn tightly against the face, covering both mouth and nose with no gaps. Take care to stay six feet away from those not in your household, as that is the distance at which most cases have been contracted or transferred to another person.

Social distancing also means that it is safest to stay away from those who you don’t live with. Groups of 10 or more are out of the question. This includes friends, significant others and even immediate family members not living in the same household. No playdates for younger children, no dates or hanging out for teenagers and when possible working from home. Though it is tempting to see others, it is best to avoid doing so as not to unknowingly spread COVID-19.

In the 21st century and age of technology, it has been recommended that technology be used to keep in contact with loved ones remotely via video calls, text messages and social media. It is important to take precautions against contracting any disease when going out, but the best precaution to take now is to stay home.

Phases Two and Three of Shelby County’s Back to Business Plan are far more lax, but they still depend on the social distancing measures being followed now. Phase Two will allow for the continuation of some contact sports and groups of up to 50 people gathering, along with businesses raising their capacities. Phase Three will reopen most all businesses, excluding those such as the Cannon Center or FedEx Forum which promote gatherings of 50 or more people in one space without being properly distanced. Ultimately, the future of these phases and of the county is unknown for now.