Having been out a few times this past week, I’ve learned a few things that restaurants and other businesses are required to do to ensure their compliance with COVID-19 protocols. I wanted to pass these things on for the information of those in that industry. Note: This is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer, and I speak only for myself. Just trying to help as a concerned citizen.
First of all, a copy of what the business is doing to be COVID-19 protocol compliant is supposed to be posted on every public entrance of a business. That means, on the front door. I believe the form they’re talking about is this one. This is the first thing inspectors look for when they’re visiting a business. Some restaurant owners have been so busy with re-hiring employees, PPP loans, inventory, etc. that this requirement has been overlooked.
The second big thing that inspectors will look for is whether restaurant employees are wearing face masks at all times. The masks can’t be pulled down so that nose and/or mouth are uncovered, and they can’t be hanging from one ear. Some people find the masks uncomfortable to breathe in, but for now, that’s the requirement.
HOWEVER… this week a friend of mine, who was a customer in a restaurant, was told by an inspector that he should have had a mask on too, that customers are required to wear masks as well as employees. I believe the inspector is wrong in this case. There is a proposed ordinance in City Council, to have its second reading May 19, to require citizens to wear masks whenever out in public. However, that proposal has not yet passed.
Part of the confusion is a result of the Code Enforcement office being assigned to investigate complaints. These types of investigations are new to them, and they might have inspected a gym, a retail store and a hair salon the same day as a restaurant. It’s understandably hard to keep guidelines they learned less than 2 weeks ago straight for so many different types of businesses.
The guidance for Phase 1 has been updated for restaurants to say that bar areas should remain closed. That was not in the original guidelines that were posted on April 30 when Back-to-Business was announced, and I wish more attention had been drawn to the guidelines at the time they were revised. Anyway, if you own or manage a restaurant, it would be advisable to pull seating away from your bar.
Also, it has been said in the daily noon press conferences that Code Enforcement has people working multiple shifts. Do not assume it’s a five o’clock world when the whistle blows and drop the face masks and pull out the bar chairs.
‘Nother thing I learned… phase 1 allows restaurants and many other businesses to re-open at up to 50% capacity… the key words being up to. Your business may have a capacity of 250, but you can still get in trouble for having 125 in there if your business is laid out in such a matter that 125 people could not be six feet apart.
I’ll make one final general piece of advice, and this applies to all businesses, not just restaurants. The more visible the inside of your business is from the outside, the more you need to make sure you are in compliance with COVID-19 protocol for your industry. I am fairly well convinced there are people with nothing better to do than drive around town who look for violations to report.
There are a lot of local restaurants out there who have yet to re-open, and I hope these tips help when they do. Again, do not take this as the Law and Prophets. If anything I said above was factually incorrect, email me at email@example.com, point me to the official source, and I will issue a correction.
Let’s move on to the news, which starts off with a couple of re-openings in the near future. First of all, Ghost River:
Check out our new rules and hours! pic.twitter.com/3sUXCOKs2O
— Ghost River Brewing (@GhostRiverBrew) May 12, 2020
For those of you who are reading this with Twitter embeds blocked, they will have “socially distant outdoor taproom seating” Wednesday-Saturday 4-9 PM. Only one customer will be allowed inside at a time to order, and that customer must have a face covering. There will not be any indoor seating at the current time.
From The Arcade Restaurant:
The Arcade Restaurant is excited to announce our (limited) re-opening, beginning Monday, May 18 at 7:00 am! We will be performing take out, delivery via our restaurant partners, curbside pickup, as well as limited in room dining!Our management has been Serve Safe certified and staff have been trained in COVID-19 safety protocols! All staff members will be temperature tested daily and will wear masks and gloves. Tables and patrons will be kept at socially distance safe levels and community items have been removed from all table tops. Seating will be limited to 50% Capacity and no more than six guests will be allowed per table.We look forward to serving you again starting Monday, May 18 in any capacity! (Take Out, Curbside, Delivery, or Limited In Seat Dining!)Thank you Memphis for 100 Years!
I also read on Facebook that Max’s may reopen next week. That was an offhand comment made by a bartender and not an official announcement.
MK who does the home delivery lunch and dinner business has posted this week’s offerings:
This week our menu featuresLOCKDOWN LUNCHPhilly cheesesteak with peppers and onions. Tortilla chips and rotel dip.$12QUARANTINE CUISINEBacon chicken ranch pasta!!!Say. It. Again!Garlic breadSide saladTiramisu cake$15Lunch is delivered on Thursday and Friday!Dinner is delivered on Friday!
At least 3 friends of mine on Facebook are building chicken coops. What’s up with everyone’s sudden interest in chickens? Not that there’s anything wrong with that… I mean, I’ve posted links about going for a chicken walk in the past.
City deputy COO Kyle Veazey tweeted a photo of the demolition of the Civic Center Plaza clock tower and some information about the history of the plaza.
Different angle, of course, but here’s what Civic Center Plaza looked like as late as 1988 — fountain, no trolley tracks. (Note an attempt to stabilize the City Hall facade happening on the NE corner. That lasted … a little while.) pic.twitter.com/sfRswpKHVQ
— Kyle Veazey (@kyleveazey) May 12, 2020
Kyle also shared a link to a Creme de Memph post about the history of the Civic Center. Creme de Memph is a blog about the city’s design and history. Thanks to Kyle for tweeting; somehow this blog flew under my radar. I’ll have something to read after I get done with this post.
There’s a Change.org petition to keep drinks to-go forever in Tennessee. I bet the liquor store lobby is not going to be on board with this.
Lightclub Livestream returns to Twitch this Friday 8-11 PM. This week’s DJs will be Crawley, Maverick, and Drew Ray.
Edible Memphis has a round-up of Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions you can sign up for. With the Memphis Farmers Market closed for a little while longer, this is a way to support your local farmers during the pandemic. In addition to meats and vegetables, floral and meat subscriptions are available.
Planning to Pivot, a discussion among event professionals on how to move forward with their businesses in light of COVID-19, is being virtually hosted by the Downtown Memphis Commission at noon today. Register here.
August 29 is the new date for the World Championship Hot Wing Contest.
In accordance with the City of Memphis “Back-to-Business” Framework and the availability of key resources to operate this event, we are moving the 2020 World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival to Saturday, August 29 – still at Tiger Lane in the Mid-South Fairgrounds. pic.twitter.com/R76p0qeMMu
— World Championship Hot Wing Contest & Festival (@WCWingContest) May 13, 2020
That’ll do it for this morning’s post. Back later today or tomorrow.