‘It’s been hard for everyone:’ Restaurant owners frustrated over new directive limiting capacity

WATCH: Is it worth it for restaurants to stay open at 25% capacity?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Part of the “Safer at Home” order released on Monday means restaurants in Shelby County have to cut capacity to just 25 percent beginning this weekend.

That change has many restaurant owners and employees worried.

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Andrew Feinstene is the owner of Boscos Restaurant & Brewing Company.

Since the pandemic began, he and his staff have dealt with a host of new challenges.

“It has been hard for everyone,” he said. “Each week, you’re dealing with keeping the full menu or shrinking it and just kind of waiting week to week to see how things change.”

Between increased safety measures, curbside pickup, and gift card sales, Feinstene has been able to keep his business alive.

But the new directive may put that in jeopardy.

“I was really disappointed in the city officials and the health department for coming and attacking restaurants again,” he said.

The Shelby County Health Department released the new “Safer at Home” order on Monday.

Starting the day after Christmas, it will require restaurants to operate at just 25 percent capacity. The order will expire on January 22.

“We have all these other businesses that are open like Target and Walmart, and they’re coming down on mom-and-pop shops,” said Antorian Bryant, a server at Bayou Bar and Grill.

Bryant said he’s had to get a second job to make ends meet.

“We are all losing money right now,” Bryant said.

Meanwhile, restaurant owners like Feinstene are staying hopeful.

“We just to thank our customers for supporting us and all the local restaurants around town,” Feinstene said. “The local restaurants really need you to come out.”

The health department also released a new facemask order.

It said if you are at a restaurant, you should wear a mask unless you are seated and eating or drinking.