Memphis Restaurant Association responds to new health directives

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Health Directive No. 15 has officially gone into effect and the Memphis Restaurant Association responds to the new guidelines.

In the directive:

  • For establishments that serve food and/or alcoholic beverages, occupancy has been reduced to 50%
  • Establishments must close at 10 p.m.
  • People inside must wear face masks except when they are actually eating
  • Table sizes have been reduced from 8 per table to 6 per table with no more than 4 adults.

Mike Miller, incoming president for the Memphis Restaurant Association, has responded to these new restrictions.

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Miller told FOX13 restaurants feel like they’re being targeted by the health department.

“We’re definitely being treated differently than other industries,” Miller said. “Yes, there have been reports that people have been at restaurants, but they’ve also been to other common service places as well.”

Miller is also drafting a response to the new health directive.

In it, Miller and the association want the health department to provide proof that a rise in COVID-19 cases is linked to restaurants.

“We want to see the data,” he said. “We want to understand what it is we’re doing to warrant this. If there’s data out there that says this is tied to a specific restaurant, then we need to address that specific restaurant.”

With the holiday season in full-swing, Miller told FOX13 these new restrictions couldn’t have come at a worse time.

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“So many restaurants out there rely on this next 6-week stretch, starting with this week with thanksgiving and going all the way through the end of the year. January and February are notoriously slow months for the restaurant industry. This couldn’t come at the worst time. It certainly makes life a little harder,” said Miller.

FOX13 reached out to the Shelby County Health Department for a comment, we have not heard back.

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