Saturday update

The Shelby County Health Department issued Health Directive No. 9 Friday afternoon, and it is even more restrictive than the previous health directive. Limited-service restaurants (bars) and clubs must remain closed. Full-service restaurants must be prepared to show the paperwork they submitted the last time they applied for their license or had it renewed, proving that less than 50% of their total sales come from alcohol. Those full-service restaurants that cannot supply such proof of total sales vs. alcohol sales must close. This is apparently aimed at some businesses on Beale Street, which through a loophole in state law were able to be licensed as full-service restaurants despite alcohol counting for more than 50% of the total.

There are other new restrictions on full-service restaurants. First of all, bar areas will be once again closed for both seating and standing. Secondly, customers must be seated at a table and put a food order in before they are allowed to order alcohol. Also, food service for any individual or group seated at a table will be limited to two hours. Music (live or recorded) must be played at a level that can be talked over without people having to raise their voice.

The order goes into effect July 26, 2020 at midnight. Once again, I wish they would use 11:59 PM or 12:01 AM so the date isn’t ambiguous. I think they mean end of Sunday/beginning of Monday, but it could be interpreted as end of Saturday/beginning of Sunday.

According to a CA article, the Beale Street restaurants that will have to close because they don’t meet the 50% threshold include Silky’s, Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall, Club 152, and Coyote Ugly. Wait a minute… how in the ever-loving HELL are Wet Willie’s sales more food than alcohol? I mean, the food they serve there is actually pretty decent (years ago, I had a former student who worked there, which is how I know), but really, who goes there for FOOD?

Obviously this will further restrict my after-work and weekend activities. However, I am much less worried about how my social life is affected than I am about my three friends who still can’t operate their limited service restaurants Downtown.

And I’m worried especially worried about the employees of those three restaurants and the other 40 or so that were ordered to close except for take-out. I know well how it feels to have what it’s like to have a seemingly very stable source of income pulled out from under you. It happened to my mom in 1991 when the Arkansas Gazette closed, and I saw the emotional and mental struggles she went through. It happened to me in January 2018, and although it turned out to be the best thing that happened to me in a long time, I had to go through a lot of hard times before I got to that place of peace.

The worst thing for those employees has to be not knowing how long this will go on. If they could look into a crystal ball and see that limited service restaurants will be closed for 5 weeks, then the uncertainty would be removed. Then the time off could truly become a vacation, and they could do the things a service industry schedule never gives them time to do. Like going out west and hiking in the mountains. Doing some fishing. Going to the beach, if you can find one that’s open. Traveling to see family you haven’t seen in years. Going to a Memphis 901 FC game, if you can score tickets. Signing up for a free month trial of a streaming service and binge-watching everything you can.

However, there’s no end in sight. Local infectious disease expert Dr. Manoj Jain expects the average number of COVID-19 cases to continue to go up every month through November, peaking at about 670 new cases per day (currently we’re averaging about 400 per day). No doubt people are worrying, will the landlord work with me if I have to fall two months behind on my rent? What if an animal I own needs an operation that I can’t afford? How will I be able to hunt for jobs if my phone gets cut off? Having been through that kind of stuff myself, it breaks my heart to see a lot of really good people have to go through that due to a circumstance they couldn’t control.

On to the news… Memphis 901 FC hosts Charlotte Independence tonight at 7:30 at AutoZone Park. If you’re not one of the lucky 1000 to have tickets, you can watch the game on local TV station CW30.

Hey, cool! I just autoprogrammed my living room TV to make sure it picks up channel 30, and it’s now getting channel 7, Jackson, TN ABC/CBS affiliate WBBJ. What’s up Josh and Frenchie, I guess I’ll be keeping up with news from your neck of the woods now!

My apologies for not reminding my readers that the Grizzlies had a scrimmage streaming online yesterday afternoon. They looked like garbage against Philadelphia the first two 10-minute quarters, then nearly came all the way back. Kyle Anderson shoots threes now! Never saw that coming. Next scrimmage is Sunday night vs. The Beard, Russ, and the rest of the Houston Rockets, and you can stream it at 7 PM on Pete Pranica and Rob Fischer provide in-game commentary and Chris Vernon offers his thoughts at the half.

Wyly Bigger streams live from South Main Sounds tonight 5:30 to 7 PM.

If you want to support the National Civil Rights Museum and learn about an important figure of recent history, rent John Lewis: Good Trouble on Apple TV this weekend. The documentary chronicles the civil rights icon and later U.S. Representative’s fight for equality and justice.

Dinner and a show returns to Atomic Rose tonight. Dinner at 6, then at 7:30 there will be a viewing of the 1995 film To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything. Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo star as three drag queens on a road trip.

This may be a little deep for a Saturday but I’m linking anyway because scientists are finally starting to get it. Could consciousness all come down to the way things vibrate?

From Chef Michael Patrick of Rizzo’s:

We will be closing for a few days. Why are we closing you ask? Over the last 24 hours a employee called out sick feeling like they had some covid-19 symptons. His concern for his safety and the restaurants is just what we have been talking about since we opened back up. It is important to be a “circle of trust”. Especially in this Covid Environment we are currently in. This morning he has gone to get tested.
As a precautionary measure we will be closing over the next couple or few days until this employee gets their test results back.
We always want to do the right thing. We have taken all the necessary precautions, to keep our staff and the dining public safe when they enter this establishment. As they say you can never be to safe. With this being said we hope to get back to feeding you all very soon.
I will be posting again as soon as we know more. Love you Memphis. Stay strong, stay safe.

“Or until this employee gets their test results back…” You may be closed for a month, Chef.

Something I figured out yesterday: Doing a 20-count while washing hands is hard because most of us have trouble knowing how long a second is without looking at a watch with a second hand. However, if you do a 40-count without any pauses between the numbers, it works out to just about exactly 20 seconds.

From lifestyle website InsideHook: Threesomes may be on the rise during the pandemic

From Politico: 8 ways Election Day 2020 could be a disaster. I’ll give you the Cliffs Notes version:

  1. An uncontrolled pandemic
  2. A whirlwind of new technologies and new processes (remember the Iowa Dem caucus?)
  3. A drought of funding, causing a flood of delays
  4. A tidal wave of dislocated voters
  5. A storm of foreign attacks
  6. A blizzard of misinformation and disinformation
  7. Declining voter protections, increasing lawsuits, and no watchdog
  8. An unpredictable volcano in the Oval Office

All right, folks, Health Directive No. 9 is not in effect yet. So, my recommendation for today is to go out to your favorite full-service restaurant, sit at the bar, drink alcohol, and socialize. Since the school system is utterly fucked this fall, maybe do a shot in honor of each teacher you know. Just be sure to wear a mask, because that’s our ticket out of this year in hell. Also, if you discard a single-use disposable paper mask, be sure to place it in a proper trash receptacle. That’s it for now. I’m heading to Slider Inn Downtown at 11, then home in time to watch the 901 FC match. Back tomorrow with more news.