Tuesday update

Health Directive No. 16 for Shelby County dropped at about 4 PM yesterday. Here are the main points.

  • Effective dates are Saturday, December 26-Friday, January 22 (so 4 weeks, or 2 COVID incubation periods)
  • Residents are encouraged to shelter at home as much as possible during this period
  • Only essential businesses are allowed to stay open – but the list of essential businesses is so long that it’s hard to think of what would qualify as a nonessential business
  • Employers are asked to keep non-essential employees home and implement telecommuting where possible
  • Restaurants can keep indoor dining at 25% capacity. Foodservice is limited to 90 minutes (down from 2 hours) and no more than 6 people from the same household at a table (they got rid of the stupid 4 adults, 2 kids thing)
  • Retail at 50% capacity
  • Gyms at 50% capacity (including staff) and masks must be worn at all times
  • Personal care businesses (barbershops, nail salons, etc.) may operate by appointment only

Meh. I guess it was the least bad option on a buffet of bad options.

Suburban mayors were caught off guard by the new health directive. Discussions within the COVID task force were for restrictions lasting two weeks, and Arlington mayor Mike Wissman said the additional two weeks were never discussed.

The Shelby County Commission gave inspectors a new tool in enforcing COVID rules yesterday: By a 9-4 vote, they can now fine businesses $50 per violation. So, let’s say inspectors walk into a restaurant and find 6  customers standing at the bar, unmasked. The individuals would not face a fine, but the restaurant could be fined $300. It gives the health department an intermediate option between giving a business a warning and shutting it completely down when violations are found.

In typical Vols fashion, the University of Tennessee had to pull out of the Liberty Bowl because too many players and staff have COVID. Army will be UT’s replacement, and that is a serious upgrade. The Black Knights will take on the Mountaineers of good ole West Virginny the afternoon of the 31st.

The Memphis Air Traffic Control Center has reopened after a COVID-related cleaning. Surrounding facilities provided support during the time the center was cleaned.

Penny Hardaway scored a 5-year, $12.25 million contract extension yesterday. His team lost to Tulsa last night though.

That’s the news for this morning. I’m not sure I will get a chance to listen to the noon COVID task force press conference, but if I do and anything important comes up, I’ll be back with a recap this afternoon.