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Dear Employers:

I have advised all Memphians to wear facial coverings when they are in public. Knowing just how much we need to cut down on COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, I wanted to make sure you received this message and are using your best efforts to ensure compliance inside your workplace, too.

In short, all employees need to be covering their faces. The only exception would be employees who are alone in a closed office, and even then, they need to cover their faces if someone else enters the office.

That does not necessarily mean a mask.

At this time, you should not be purchasing medical-grade masks, which are in short supply. It is extremely important that N95 masks are reserved for those who need them most and have the highest risk of infection, including medical professionals and healthcare workers. It is recommended that Memphians instead wear cloth face coverings, such as one made with a bandana or scarf, or make your own using fabric. You can follow instructions available online from trusted sources. Any face coverings should be washed after each use.

Early data suggests that many who are infected with COVID-19 are not symptomatic, which is why we recommend this step. A surgical mask is recommended for people with an underlying health condition. A face covering is not a substitute for other critical measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 — most importantly, keeping sick employees out of the workplace, washing hands frequently, and practicing safe physical distancing in all settings.

These measures will help flatten the curve and save lives.

CDC guidance is available here: 


Mayor Jim Strickland