The 901: What local businesses are saying about vaccine mandate

Dann Miller
Memphis Commercial Appeal

Good morning, Memphis, where Tigers fans are gearing up for Saturday's game against Mississippi State at the Liberty Bowl, which should, thankfully, be cowbell-free.

Memphis Fire Department Kendrik White administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at Serenity Recovery Center on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

But, first, President Joe Biden last week ordered employers with 100 or more workers to ensure their workforce is entirely vaccinated or face weekly COVID testing.

In Tennessee, those same rules will also apply to state and local government workers, including educators and school staff, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That's because Tennessee is one of 26 states and two territories that has a state OSHA plan, the agency said.

In this story for subscribers, Commercial Appeal reporters contacted companies on the Greater Memphis Chamber's list of major employers in the area for reaction to the new rules. These 50 employers account for about 200,000 workers in the area. 

How big a deal could this vaccine mandate be in Tennessee? 

According to this story from our colleague Adam Friedan at The Tennessean, Tennessee has the most coronavirus infections of all U.S. states in the past 14 days and over the entire pandemic when adjusted for population, according to data compiled by the New York Times.

Not a subscriber? Consider supporting local Memphis journalism with a digital subscription. Click here to get our best offer.

Douglass K-8 Optional School students head to class for their first day of school on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. Schools have begun reopening leaving it up to local schools to decide whether to require masks.

Kids and COVID-19

While early indicators show COVID-19 hospitalizations could be dipping in Shelby County, pediatric hospitalizations have been at frightening highs in recent weeks, as new infections among children remain at levels previously unseen during the pandemic, our Katherine Burgess reports.

As of Monday, there were 2,647 active pediatric cases in Shelby County, down from 3,199 on Sept. 7. While the decline is encouraging, the figure is up from about 1,100 pediatric cases in Shelby County in early August. 

Dr. Sandy Arnold, division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Le Bonheur, said on Sept. 8 there were 12 admitted pediatric COVID-19 patients, down from 30-something a few days before. However, many of the admitted children are seriously sick.

Karen Boyd was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, about a year and a half after her daughter Allison Robertson was diagnosed. Now the duo share tips, facts and struggles in a Facebook group for people affected by the disease. The mother and daughter are seen here in matching  hair from The Pink Wig Project at Boyd's Bartlett home on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.

'Born to save my life'

Karen Boyd says her daughter Allison Robertson was "born to save my life."

Our Dima Amro tells the story of the Bartlett mother and daughter who are going through their cancer journeys together

"Thank God (Robertson) slept in her bra," Boyd said. If she hadn't, a lineage of breast cancer genes may never have unraveled, and Boyd, 50, to this day might not have known about a cancerous tumor in her breast. 

Robertson with Stage 1A ductal carcinoma on Sept. 9, 2019 — nine days before her 28th birthday. Boyd was diagnosed with the same cancer earlier this year.

Inspiration4 astronaut Hayley Arceneaux

St. Jude lift off

SpaceX's Inspiration4 is expected to launch this week from the John F. Kennedy Space Center, the first all-civilian space mission to go into orbit. 

Our Corinne Kennedy takes a look at what you need to know about the mission that will also include Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor, former St. Jude patient and current physician assistant at the hospital.

Funded by SpaceX — entrepreneur Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturing and space transportation company — the mission is expected to last about three days.

Signs hang from a tree at a community rally against the Byhalia Connection pipeline on Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Memphis.

Fighting pipelines

The Shelby County Commission passed an ordinance Monday restricting where oil pipelines like the Byhalia Pipeline can be built, our Katherine Burgess reports.

"With community members taking the lead, we've already stopped the Byhalia pipeline," Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris tweeted earlier Monday. "Now, it's time to stop all oil pipelines that might pose a risk to our neighborhoods. I am hopeful that the County Commission will support regulation of oil pipelines."

The ordinance still must pass the City Council, where it is slated to come up Sept. 21. 

Tigers football

Memphis Tigers quarterback Seth Henigan checks the coverage before the snap against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro, Ark. On Sept. 11, 2021.

The University of Memphis Tigers are coming off a slim win over Arkansas State and prepping for this weekend's game against SEC foe Mississippi State.

The victory at Jonesboro earned the Tigers one single vote in the USA Today Sports AFCA coaches poll, our Evan Barnes reports.  The Tigers did not receive a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, however.

In these stories for subscribers, Barnes offer grades for how the team performed against the Red Wolves and takes a closer look at how the freshmen Seth Henigan and Brandon Thomas have performed in their first two games out.

And if you were worried about the sound of cowbells ringing in your ears Saturday, don't fret.  Those noisemakers have been banned from the Liberty Bowl.

Oh, well.

Dann Miller is the senior consumer experience director at The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at dann.miller@commercialappeal.com or on Twitter @dannmiller.