Shelby County voted in a special board meeting on Wednesday to open the county. The vote passed 19-0 to reopen businesses in unincorporated parts of the county. The resolution agrees with the Governor’s efforts to protect those most at risk and says the health and well-being of the citizens of Shelby County remain a constant concern for all officials of Shelby County.
The resolution continues by stating that the rate of infections and spread of COVID-19 has proven to be lower in less populace places, especially downstate. As has been the concern of a lot of downstate counties, the resolution states that the “ongoing restrictions on businesses threaten the livelihood and economy of Shelby County residents and threatens the enduring quality of publicly funded services such as schools and public safety.”
The resolution goes on to state also that each business remains responsible for its own compliance with state laws, and the Shelby County Health Department will continue to monitor the COVID-19 crisis.
The Shelby County resolution is broken up into 4 phases just like the Governor’s plans, but they are a little different. Phase 1 will have temporary isolation restrictions for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Retail stores must have regular temperature checks, wear masks, and have occupancy for up to 50% of the current legal limit. Restaurants and bars will also have 50% occupancy limits, temperature checks, masks, no patrons within six feet of each other, no self-service, no-contact menus, and protective screens for employees.
Personal Care providers such as hair, nail, and massage and professional services, will have much of the same requirements as retail stores and restaurants. Places of worship, gaming rooms, gyms and exercise facilities, and public parks all will have much of the same requirements as well. Daycare facilities can operate at 50% of capacity.
Under phase 1, dance halls, movie theaters, contact sports, and public pools will still be closed.
If after 14 days of following phase 1 guidelines, hospitalization rates remain down, the County will move into phase 2. phase 2 has a lot of the same requirements as phase 1 but capacities will go up to 75%. Daycares will still operate at 50% capacity. Outdoor concerts and Movie theaters may open if 6 feet of separation can be maintained.
If after 14 days of following phase 2 guidelines, hospitalization rates remain down, the county will move into phase 3 which will allow all businesses, places of worship, and gatherings to resume normal contact.
Any employees that exhibit signs of COVID-19 will be sent home immediately and employers must maintain a log of employees reporting for work and temperature readings.
The concern for businesses that do open will be liability. There is also a concern for state licenses. The state has to provide 48 hours to shut down a business and 72 hours for a liquor store. It will be up to the individual towns in Shelby County to decide whether or not they will go along with the county and open up but for now, unincorporated parts of Shelby County are officially open.