It Starts with a Square

Tour Collierville – Jennifer Casey (June 16, 2020)

BY Nick Cotros


Nick: Hi, everyone. My name is Nick Cotros. I’m with the Tour Collierville Magazine, and I am joined today by Jennifer Casey, Collierville, Tennessee’s Public Information Officer. Jennifer, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

Jennifer: Thank you for having me.

Nick: Yeah, of course. So, I guess the first thing is that yesterday we learned that Shelby County is delaying a move to the third phase of its reopening businesses plan or framework, and will remain in phase two for the immediate future. Can you sort of tell us and walk us through why this decision was made at this time?

Jennifer: So, there’s a lot of factors that the County looks at. And the first thing with Collierville, in particular, is that we are under the direction of the Shelby County health department, and this was set forth by governor Bill Lee. So, what the health department decides is what we’re going to do, because we’re in the county and they are our only health department. So, the county’s looking at COVID cases, hospital space, PPE, there’s all these factors that they want to be checking as we keep moving forward in these phases to see if it’s an appropriate time, and the data is showing us that it’s an appropriate time to keep going. So Monday, I believe we got word that we had this spike of 256 cases in one day, and that’s one of the highest that we’ve had so far since this all started happening back in March. So, they were pretty concerned about that. And then, just want to continue this process of slowing the spread and trying to make sure that we don’t get overwhelmed from a healthcare perspective.

Nick: Okay, so there are a lot of factors that are going into the decision that’s being made on like a daily basis.

Jennifer: Yes, it’s not just the number of COVID cases, while that’s a huge driving factor. There’s all these other pieces that they’re looking at and balancing, and that’s why they’re tracking all of this different data and looking at it to make these decisions.

Nick: Okay, gotcha. So, will Collierville continue to align with the Shelby County’s decisions moving forward as they decide how to move out of these phases and into new ones? Is that sort of our plan, just kind of looking at what Shelby County’s doing and agreeing on that?

Jennifer: Yes, not only is it because it’s the order of the governor to follow what the County wants us to do, but also because the virus does not have, you know, it crosses municipal lines. Just because Collierville may not have as many cases as another zip code nearby, doesn’t mean that the virus can’t reach us or that we don’t have cases here. They just may not be recorded or they may be folks that are showing or having asymptomatic symptoms. So, we want to do what’s best for the entire County because we know that we’re not immune just because of being in this municipality.

Nick: Yeah, and I guess people travel from Germantown and Memphis and Collierville throughout. So, it’s sort of like a group effort cause there’s a lot of intermingling there. So, as we look at potentially moving into phase three or sticking into phase two, what will have to happen in order for us to move into a more relaxed phase?

Jennifer: I think as long as we see a slow decline in COVID cases, or if it remains flat, that would probably make the health department feel better about moving into the next phase. And as mentioned earlier, those other factors of making sure that we have in a PPE, enough space in our hospitals, and those different pieces that come to play. I think the main thing of course is the COVID cases, to see a decline or a flat for a certain amount of time, then we’ll be able to move forward. But the main message is that we can’t slack on protecting ourselves. We have to be wearing face coverings in public places, keeping social distance, frequent hand washing, all these things that we’ve heard for week. We can’t let up because this virus is still here and it’s not going away right now.

Nick: Okay, and the back to business framework sort of lays out what’s kind of expected of people as we move throughout these phases, right?

Jennifer: Yes, exactly. The health directive that we’re under, with the Shelby County health department, which you can find on, it has everything laid out from what you should do as just a person going shopping. What businesses need to be doing has the ways to protect yourself, and what businesses need to be doing to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers.

Nick: Gotcha, cool. And they can find that at

Jennifer: Correct.

Nick: Great, so is there anything else that you’d like to share with the community? I’m sure that there are people that are concerned that the decision was made to stay into phase two, that it might be sort of a warning signal. Is there anything that you’d like to share with Collierville?

Jennifer: Yes. I’m sure that people are disappointed that we’re not moving forward in the next phase, but I don’t think it’s any reason to be fearful. You just need to continue to do all these things that we’ve been talking about. Practice, social distancing, where a face covering frequently, wash your hands and try to limit your trips. Just like we’ve said from the get go. If it’s not necessary to go out and do something avoid crowds, all those things will help protect you as we continue to move forward. And we could enter the next phase. We just have to be careful about our decisions.

Nick: Alright, cool. Well, that’s Jennifer Casey, Collierville, Tennessee’s Public Information Officer and I’m Nick Cotros with the Tour Collierville Magazine. Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate it.

Jennifer: Sure, thanks for having me on.

Nick: Thanks, everyone!

September/October 2021 Tour Collierville Magazine