Safer-at-Home Order by Shelby County Frustrates Restaurant Owners

Dec 22, 2020 10:13 PM EST | By Josh Summers (

Safer at Home Order by Shelby County Frustrates Restaurant Owners
(Photo : Spencer Platt)
People walk by a closed restaurant in Rockefeller Center on the last Sunday before Christmas on December 20, 2020 in New York City. Rockefeller Center, where the annual Christmas tree is displayed among other holiday attractions, has far less crowds this year and numerous restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. New York City has seen a slow uptick in COVID hospitalizations over the last few weeks but is still far below the numbers witnessed in the spring.

Restaurant Owners worry about the impact of the Safer at Home order by the Shelby County Health Department. 

Fox 13 reports that the order released by the federal department will have to cut down the restaurant's capacity to 25% due to COVID-19 continuous positive cases surging. 

Commercial Appeal states that even though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of ruckus in the past months, the restaurant owners have the knowledge that despite the presence of the virus, the week of the holidays will still be demanding and can benefit restaurants that are besieged. 

As of December 22, 2020, the World Health Organization reports that there are about 76 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the globe and about 33 million are from the Americas. 

Read also: New Wave of Restaurant Restrictions to Be Implemented as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Restaurant Owners' worries

In an interview with Fox 13, owner of Boscos and Brewing Company, Amndre Feinstene shares that he was able to keep his business thriving through curbside pickup, safety measures, and gift card sales. 

He also exclaims his disappointment to the city officials and the health department for coming and attacking the restaurants once again. 

Commercial Appeal notes that a draft of the health directive states that all dining rooms shall be closed for two weeks, although restaurants are allowed to continuously offer their menu and food for taking out and delivery. 

The incoming president of the Memphis Restaurant Association, Mike Miller, shares with Commercial Appeal his anger on the situation pointing out that thousands of people will lose their job just a few days before Christmas. He also states that the timing of the mandate is terrible because the holiday week is the best week for restaurants. 

Because of this incident, Local Channel WKNO 91.1 reports that some restaurant owners result to rallying in downtown Memphis on Monday afternoon to struggle against the possible closure of the food establishments in the county. 

Safer at Home Order

WMC 5 reports that Shelby County Health Department's Health Directive 16 states that alongside the 25% capacity of dining in restaurants, retail capacity and fitness facilities were honored 50%, and push employers to permit non-essential employees in working remotely.

Infectious disease expert from Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 joint Task Force, Dr. Manoj Jain, shares with WKNO 91.1 that the mandate or order is necessary because they are discovering an increase in the number of cases which is thought to lead to an unparalleled number of deaths. 

The Health Department also pints out in the local channel that there is an average of six new deaths from the virus daily. 

Another restriction from the order as stated by WMC 5 is that activities that are connected to leisure and recreation are highly encouraged to be postponed because they will be exposing people to unnecessary risk and spreading of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Owner of Crave Coffee bar Lana Hickey shares with the local channel that they are not suggesting walking around with masks and any protection for the virus but making a living should be allowed. 

With the heightening of COVID-19 positive cases in the county, the order issued will strike and affect various business establishments like restaurants. Although money is valuable, health and safety should also be a priority in times of turmoil. 

Related article: Food And Beverage Employment Experience Massive Loss Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

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