Tuesday update

More who’s open for dine-in and who’s not… in the case of Downtown businesses I will add these to the list I posted yesterday.

Wiseacre Brewing Co. has made the decision to keep its taproom on Broad closed for a couple of weeks, after reading the CDC guidelines and Brewer’s Association recommendation. The Broad location will continue to operate for curbside and delivery sales, and only employees will be allowed inside. Their current plan (subject to change) is to open the Broad Avenue taproom, at 50% capacity with modifications to keep everyone else safe, on Monday, May 18.

But here’s the really exciting news… they’re going to take what they learn from operating the Broad Avenue taproom and apply it when they open the Wiseacre 2 taproom, located Downtown at B.B. King and Butler, in early June! That’s right, folks, we’re only about a month away from Wiseacre Beer, served from the source, a short walk away!

Starting today, Paulette’s will provide dine-in service as well as take-out.

Hair salons have been moved into Phase 1 of the Back-to-Business Framework and will be able to re-open tomorrow in Memphis and Shelby County. However, there will be restrictions: Customers must wear face coverings, work stations must be 6 feet apart, and there must be 15 minutes between the end of one appointment with a stylist/barber and the start of the next. Related businesses like nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage parlors are not included in the revision to the order.

My compliments to the Daily Memphian, which is now reporting number of tests per day at the same time they report number of new cases per day in Shelby County. Reading that there were 100 new cases reported has a much different meaning if you know those 100 new cases were out of 1500 tested as opposed to 150.

Some people have speculated that it was widely known in the restaurant business that May 4 would be the re-opening date, well before the public release of the Back to Business Framework, maybe even as long as a week and a half ago. I tend to believe that’s not true. The reason why is that some restaurants saw the downtime as a chance to undertake renovations, renovations that would not be finished by the 4th.

You’ll soon need a face covering to take an Uber.

A couple of videos

Award-winning bartender Cady shows how to make a classic cocktail, the Penicillin, at Pontotoc Lounge.

Dylan demonstrates making a wood-fired pizza at the Silly Goose:

General notes about bars…

One bar owner explained why he wasn’t re-opening for dine-in as of yesterday. “People come in here in big groups, of like 10 people,” he said. “You know they don’t all live in the same household. So, how do I tell them, you have to sit apart from each other?” This is especially a concern tonight, being Cinco de Mayo, a popular drinking holiday.

One thing to note… bars that haven’t opened for dine-in, but are open for take-out/delivery, will at least no longer get in trouble if people are found inside who are hanging out, not waiting on to-go food. I suspect some of these places may allow people to linger a bit, as long as they maintain social distancing. If that’s the case, people who tip the bartender well and don’t come in big groups will probably have the most latitude.

Oh yeah, that reminds me! Friday I mentioned that I had one other observation about the re-opening, but wanted to hold it until Saturday… then I ended up holding it until today. In the re-opening orders in Arkansas and Nashville, restaurants could re-open at reduced capacity, but they weren’t allowed to sit anyone at their bar areas. I was worried we would see a similar provision in the Memphis/Shelby County re-opening order. We did not, and customers can sit at bar areas, although like the rest of the restaurant they must remain at 50% capacity or less.

Why did I wait on posting that observation? The media read this blog. I didn’t want to give them a chance to get in front of Mayor Strickland and ask that question before May 4.

Opinion time (about the re-opening, not political stuff)

I’ve held back my opinion, for the most part, about the re-opening date, wanting to be an objective source of information during the quarantine. Now that Phase 1 of re-opening has begun, though, I will let loose a little.

I personally thought Monday, May 11 was the ideal date to move into Phase 1 of a re-opening, with Monday, May 4 (the actual date it happened) five to ten percent less than ideal, and anything sooner considerably worse (from a health perspective). I saw a re-opening date of Monday, May 18 as slightly less than ideal, and anything more than a week after that considerably worse (from an economic perspective).

However, I do see one benefit to May 4. Typically, landlord-tenant agreements are such that rent is due the 1st of the month, and late on the 6th. A lot of people are already behind on their April rent, and as of tomorrow will be two months behind. The May 4 reopening allows a number of people to go to their landlord and say, “I’m not going to be able to get you everything I owe by the 5th, but I’m working again, so I’m in the process of catching up.” As opposed to, “I’m two months behind, and I have absolutely no idea when I will have any money to even pay part of what I owe.”

The May 4 date reduces worry in that regard. With the exception of hate, worry is the most unhealthy, unproductive, unnecessary emotion there is. It may not be the threat that COVID-19 is, but it has been known to take years off people’s lives. There are few bigger causes of worry than the unknown. It causes people to dwell on an absolute-worst-case scenario. For people behind on rent or mortgage, that scenario is losing their home, which is pretty horrible and unhealthy to dwell upon.

That’s it for now. I’m about 50-50 on whether I will get out today for Cinco de Mayo. If I do, I will high-tail it home at the first sign of overcrowding/disregarding social distancing at the places that are open. Back later today or tomorrow with more news.