Tuesday update

Yesterday I reported that a well-known Downtown Memphis bar is said to be up for sale, and out of respect for the owner I didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag. Well, the announcement has been made: Earnestine & Hazel’s is for sale. Owner Caitlin Chittom posted to Facebook, saying the sale was not about money. Rather, the memories of her late father Bud Chittom, who had owned the building since the 1990s, were too much for her.

Caitlin says she is 100% committed to selling to someone who is local, and who will keep the legendary dive bar, known for its Soul Burgers, jukebox, ghosts, Nate’s bar upstairs, and history as a brothel intact as it has been for nearly 30 years. I am so relieved to hear that. E&H is a legendary piece of Memphis culture and needs to be preserved. The selling price is $975,000 and you can click the link above to see how to get in touch with the real estate agents. I’m going to go buy a Powerball ticket and buy E&H if I win.

Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter and County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph appeared before the Shelby County Commission yesterday, their first public remarks since dropping Health Directive No. 15 late Friday afternoon. Haushalter was asked about the regulation that you must keep your mask on between bites and sips at restaurants. A Commissioner asked, wouldn’t that contaminate the mask by touching it so much? Haushalter stated that the goal of the regulation is not necessarily to take it on and off between bites and sips. “Exercise some common sense and work around,” she said.

Haushalter and Randolph left after giving their presentation. About 20 Shelby County business owners were there to give statements on the impact of the new restrictions, but by that point no representative from the Health Department was still present to hear their concerns, nor was a representative from either Mayor Harris’ or Mayor Strickland’s office.

I listened to part of the Commission meeting online and later in the evening talked to a business owner who had presented an impact statement. Let me just say this in response to the remarks of certain Commissioners: Liberal authoritarians are every bit as bad as conservative authoritarians. There are politicians I have supported in the past that I will never support again because of the way they have handled the pandemic response – in particular, being dismissive of those who do not hold the same opinions as their own.

Kooky Canuck owner Shawn Danko was interviewed by Action News 5 about the impact the new regulations will have on small businesses. No one wants to lay off employees right before Christmas, but restaurant owners may have to. Shawn said that Downtown Kooky’s profit is down by more than 50% since the pandemic started.

Jennifer Biggs and her team from The Daily Memphian went out spying on area businesses again, spot-checking them to see if the mask-on-between-bites rule was being enforced.

The DM has an opinion piece that Friday afternoon is the wrong time for the Health Department to drop new rules and regulations. Agree so much with all of this!

Not surprisingly, holiday parades are off the table this year. The Downtown Memphis Commission will have a safely distanced tree lighting Friday at the corner of Peabody Place and Main.

The Turkey of the Year glass is now on sale at the Flying Saucer. Normally, each year the Saucer picks a public figure as Turkey of the Year. This year, however, the Turkey is the year 2020 itself.

I made an appointment with Rachel’s Salon to get a haircut next week, and I want to remind all of you in need of a haircut or style or color or bad hair extensions (who was I thinking of when I typed that?), go ahead and get that done. If there’s an expected post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID cases, hair salons and barber shops could be on the chopping block in the next round of restrictions. The surge should hit around December 8.

A coronavirus outbreak has forced Ole Miss to pause its basketball program until December 7, canceling its game against Memphis and three others.

As a pro wrestling fan, I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate 30-year veteran The Gobbledy Gooker on winning his first championship. Sunday at Survivor Series, the Gooker pinned R-Truth to win the WWE 24/7 title.

That’ll do it for now. I’m off the rest of the week after today, so my posting schedule may be somewhat irregular. Back tomorrow if there’s any news.