Friday update: Now the Saucer and the Fish are temporarily closed

Following yesterday’s notice that the Aldo family of restaurants – Bardog, Slider Inn (both), Aldo’s Pizza Pies (both), and Momma’s – were temporarily closing due to a case of COVID-19 in an employee, the Flying Saucer and the Flying Fish  have announced they will go on a temporary hiatus. Someone commented, asking if a COVID-19 case had been discovered among their employees, and they said no, they’re just playing it safe. If you can’t survive the weekend without your Saucer fix, the Cordova location is still open.

Folks, this is getting real serious. I have heard several times this week that Downtown is currently considered a “hotspot” for the coronavirus. Again, I’m not going to advise you not to go out (with one exception, see below), but you need to be very careful, not only to protect yourself, but to protect those in your inner circle, friends and family who could catch the virus from you if you had it. I’m going to channel my inner Dr. Bruce Randolph (county health officer) here and list some reminders:

First of all, wash your fucking hands. (Okay, I doubt Dr. Randolph would put it that way.) Yesterday there were people doing their business in the men’s room and then walking out without washing hands. It is startling that people can be that inconsiderate during a pandemic. And “well, I squirted hand sanitizer on my hands after I got back to the table” doesn’t fly as an excuse. People have to touch the bathroom door handle after you. Show some thought for others.

Secondly, understand the way the virus works. You can have it for up to a week before you develop symptoms, yet during that week you are still capable of transmitting it to other people. That is why you need to wash your hands and do the next two things I talk about.

Third, wear a mask. If you go to a restaurant or bar, it needs to be on any time your butt  is not in a seat. That includes when you enter, when you get up to use the restroom, when you walk outside to smoke, if you walk to another table to say hello. Even if you personally think the mask is useless, the Health Department doesn’t, and it’s the law. The venues you visit can get in big trouble if you don’t follow the mask ordinance, with penalties all the way up to being shut down. If you have favorite bars that you love, please do your part to ensure they remain open.

Fourth, distance yourselves the best you can. The official CDC opinion is that you should maintain six feet of distance from everyone not in your household. Personally, I think that goes a bit far. I don’t see anything wrong with pulling up a bar stool with a close friend or two, as long as you have six feet of distance between yourselves and other groups. I don’t see anything wrong with being at a table with up to five of your friends, as long as your table is distanced from other tables.

My fifth and final recommendation is based on personal observation, and it’s going to piss off some of my friends in the service industry, but I don’t care. I strongly recommend that you avoid bars in the Downtown core on Sunday. The past two Sundays I have seen groups of 8 to 10 people roving from bar to bar, walking right in and right up to the bar, maskless, crowding people who are properly seated there. I’m talking, many groups doing this. The employees tried as best they could to make them follow the rules but it’s hard to control customers. If you must get your drank on in the Downtown core on Sunday, I recommend doing it early, say, before 2 PM, as these groups don’t seem to be morning people.

Apologies for sounding like a member of the COVID-19 task force, or worse, Becky from Twitter who thinks we should’ve stayed in lockdown until August 1. I do it because I want to stress to you that COVID-19 is no longer some abstract thing that they talk about on CNN. It is here. It is in the Downtown community. It is common for Shelby County to have 200-300 new cases per day and sometimes pushing 400. The positivity rate many days this past week has been around 12% which is frightening. Please take care of not only yourselves, not only your family and friends, but everyone in the community.

And for fuck’s sake, don’t throw a COVID party like some college students in Alabama did.

People have been asking if there is a place Downtown where you can get a COVID-19 test. Yes. It’s not a free test, but Elite Total Health at Main and MLK does them. You get your results next day, rather than 3-4 days later, minimizing the time you have to isolate following your test. Also you don’t spend hours in line in your car, as you would for a free test (some people compare the experience to the old days of yearly car inspections). I have never availed myself of the services at Elite, but I know the folks there personally. They are super nice and professional and part of the Downtown community.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain is hospitalized in Atlanta for COVID-19. Remember him? Mr. 9-9-9? Despite the fact that he’s a complete wack job, I wish Mr. Cain a speedy recovery. I don’t wish suffering upon any human being.

Waaaait a minute, I need to stop short of using a blanket word like “any.” If Donald Trump caught the coronavirus I’d be awfully tempted to root for the virus.

From WMC Action News 5: A. Schwab’s resilience prevails through pandemic. If you have never visited the “dry goods” store on Beale Street, founded in 1876, you are missing out on a shopping experience that is part of the soul of Memphis. It’d be a fun thing for you to do this weekend.

The Millennium Tour, scheduled for March 2020 at FedExForum, has been rescheduled for May 15. 2021. Tickets and meet and greet passes already purchased will be honored on the new date.

All right, let’s step away from all this COVID crap and move on to a piece of actual good news. Now that the schedule of NBA “seeding” games has been released, FiveThirtyEight updated its season predictions, and the Grizzlies have moved up. Due to time for players to recover from injuries, the Grizzlies’ playoff chances went up from 15% to 37%. Perhaps their biggest threat to a playoff spot, the New Orleans Pelicans, got 15% shaved off their playoff probability.

Heading out to the Blind Bear at 11. By the way, I want to extend huge props to the owner, Jeannette, who hired a doorman to work the busy hours. That’ll make sure no one makes it to the bar without a mask. Robert is one of the most level-headed guys I know and he’s a great poker player too.

That’s it. Holiday weekends are usually not big for Downtown news, but I’ll be back tomorrow if there’s any to report.