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Corona in Memphis & Mississippi

Mississippi and Memphis are fighting the corona pandemic with great success. Here you can read about essential regulations, about restrictions and easing that still exist.

Status: Monday, May 17th, 6 p.m.

Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee are making great strides in vaccinating against corona. The responsible US federal vaccination authority, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that by May 16 in Mississippi, 32.5 percent of the population aged 18 and over had already received their first vaccination, 25.8 percent had already received their second vaccination. In Tennessee, it's 37.1 percent and 29.8 percent. The vaccination rate for the first vaccination is about as high as in Germany (37.0%), that for the second vaccination is more than twice as high (11.2%). The New York Times provides a continuously updated overview of the vaccination status for all US states based on this CDC data, which shows the very rapid progress. We have reason to hope that the US will return to a way of life without major corona restrictions in the summer of 2021.

In Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee, hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and attractions have been cautiously reopening hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and attractions since the spring of 2020, in predetermined steps and with significant restrictions that depended on the numbers of infections. In July and August there was an intermittent increase followed by a decrease. From the beginning of October the numbers rose sharply again. The restrictions were tightened once more. After a high at the turn of the year, the curve of new infections in Tennessee including Memphis showed a very steep downward trend and has already reached the low of late summer at a fairly stable level for a month. In Mississippi, too, the numbers have fallen sharply since the beginning of the year and are currently largely stable, with a clear downward trend there. The 7-day incidence per 100,000 people in Memphis was 72.3 on May 13 (101 on May 5). For Mississippi it was 42.7 on May 5. We do not yet have any current figures.

A website of the Ministry of Health of Tennessee continuously informs about the officially known cases also in Memphis, the tourist office of the city of Memphis Travel about the overall situation, also about attractions that have long been reopened. A special page from the Mississippi Department of Health provides information on developments in the state.

Since March 14, 2020, there has been an entry ban in the USA for tourist trips by citizens from the Schengen area and Switzerland. Since January 26, 2021, the US immigration authorities have required a negative corona test for all persons aged two and over, which must not be older than three days, or a letter from a licensed doctor proving that they have recovered from corona within 90 days of departure. Please inform yourself up-to-date on the Corona pages of the US Embassy in Berlin in German.

For the USA in general, the travel warning issued by the German federal government has so far remained, combined with the obligation to be tested before returning. The danger level was reduced from "high incidence" to only "risk area" on March 7, the lowest warning level for Corona.

Here are just a few, by no means complete, messages that have reached us. Most reopenings are associated with restrictions, for example in terms of capacity, and often still require a mask.


  • Memphis' Mayor Jim Strickland named in his statement of April 27, 2020 the exact criteria for the reopening in phases. The latest announcements with details can also be found under "News". The two-week phase 1 with cautious opening of individual shops under strict conditions had already started on May 4, 2020. Phase 2 now applies. Since May 15, there is no longer any mandatory masking requirement in public areas, but wearing masks and keeping your distance is still strongly recommended. Private shops, including restaurants, may continue to require the wearing of masks.

  • Tennessee Governor Bill Lee had already decided in late April 2020 that the vast majority of shops and restaurants in almost all counties of Tennessee would be allowed to reopen. From April 28 to May 31, 2021, all corona restrictions have been lifted by the state government. Counties with their own health departments, including Shelby County, where Memphis is located, are developing their own local strategies that continue to include stricter rules. But they no longer have the authority to have a mask requirement.

  • The festival month Memphis in May takes place in parts. As planned, the World Championship Barbecue Contest took place from May 12th to 15th in a smaller format. The Beale Street Music Festival, part of Memphis in May, will not start again until 2022 due to Corona. The "Salute to Ghana" weekend will not take place again until 2022 either. The runners' competitions "Great American River Run" on May 29, the Saturday of the holiday weekend for Memorial Day on May 31, have also remained for 2021.

  • The National Civil Rights Museum is open. There are also many interesting lectures and other offers online.

  • Graceland, with its Elvis Presley's Memphis Visitor Center, is open. Masks are no longer mandatory since May 14, but are recommended. Shuttle buses are fully occupied again, but are regularly disinfected. Graceland recommends purchasing tickets online in advance. Graceland also offers Virtual Live Tours. These are real virtual tours of small groups, where you can also ask questions, so much more than just saved online insights, as offered by many attractions. The guide is none other than the director of the Graceland archives, Angie Marchese. The costs are therefore similar to regular tours on site. Bookings are currently available on May 24th and October 18th.

  • The Slave Haven Museum, on the Underground Railroad network that once helped slaves flee north, is open. The escape helper was the German emigrant Joseph B├╝rkle.

  • The Blues Hall of Fame is closed due to Corona until further notice.

  • The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Back Beat Tours offers city tours by bus, on foot and by bike. The main theme of Memphis is music.

  • The Sun Studio is open every day.

  • The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is open.

  • The International Blues Challenge, the world championship of blues, was canceled in 2021 due to Corona. The next "IBC" is for 18.-22. Scheduled for January 2022.


  • Following previous decrees by Governor Tate Reeves, the following now applies: It is recommended to wear masks in public where there is not enough distance. Details can be found on the governor's orders page.

  • Some cities and counties have their own rules, including Tupelo and Oxford. In the capital, Jackson, the decree of Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba of May 10th, which has brought some relief. Restaurants are now allowed to open with a few restrictions. This also applies to museums, theaters and music stages. In public, however, there is still a mask and distance requirement in Jackson. The Jackson City Council informed.

  • The casinos in the state are open.

  • The B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center in Indiananola is open. For the time being, limited opening times apply: Thursdays to Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • The GRAMMY Mississippi Museum in Cleveland will continue to be open Thursday through Saturday from 10am to 3pm and Sundays from 12pm to 3pm.

  • The Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum in Tupelo is open.

  • The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson are open Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Entry is free on Sundays.

  • The Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson is open Thursday through Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12pm to 5pm.

  • The Mississippi Museum of the Arts, The MAX, in Meridian is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Natchez provides information on its reopening, which has largely already taken place, on a special page.

  • The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi is open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • The Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs is open.

  • All beaches are open.

  • A special page from Coastal Mississippi provides detailed information about the location on the Gulf Coast, which is largely open to tourism.

Now is the time to plan the perfect Memphis & Mississippi trip for life after the restrictions of Coronavirus. You will find valuable information on this on our website. Your travel agency or tour operator appreciates your interest. You can also order our free printed material. Please also take a look at our Facebook page.

But the most important thing now is: stay healthy!