Bar closure requirements confuse owners

Watch: Bar closure requirements confuse owners

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After bar owners were told to shut down, some said they felt targeted especially since bars on Beale Street were allowed to stay open.

Thursday was the first night bars were officially closed in Memphis while restaurants were only allowed to stay open until 10 p.m.

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Kimmi Cummings has owned Cheers in Millington for six years.

“I just want answers,” Cummings said. “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. I don’t want to close anyone down. I just want answers.”

She said when things shut down the first time, she barely survived with to-go orders.

Cummings was left with questions.

“I had a lady from the health department tell me I had to close everything down,” Cummings said. “I had another tell me I could serve curbside. I had another tell me if I could close bar area down, I could be open.”

So FOX 13 asked for clarification. We found out she had to shut down because she’s a limited-service restaurant which means more of her sales come from alcohol than food.

She could continue to sell food and drinks to-go.

She still had one major question.

“I want to know why Beale Street can be open and we can’t,” Cummings said.

A spokesperson with the TABC said Beale Street is considered a historic landmark district. So, it doesn’t need to meet the foodservice requirements expected of a restaurant.

Cummings said this rule was not fair at all.

“I want to know why certain bars have been targeted and told to close but other bars haven’t,” she said.

FOX13 received more clarification from the health department.

They said people in restaurants are allowed to eat and drink at the bar as long as they maintain a 6-feet distance.