Memphis restaurants work to ensure safety as the city enters phase 2 of reopening

Memphis restaurants work to ensure safety as the city enters phase 2 of reopening

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the community starts its phase two of the Back-to-Business plan, more restaurants are opening to dine-in customers. Restaurants want to send the message they’re open and they’re safe.

At the oldest diner in Memphis, Arcade Restaurant, the doors are finally open for dine-in customers. The Memphis landmark decided to wait out phase one and open this week during phase two of Memphis’ Back-to-Business plan.

“What we did was after phase one was getting rolled out we had a big staff meeting with all our managers and everyone involved,” Arcade Restaurant Owner Jeff Zepatos said. “We made a decision we wanted to wait a little longer. We let the employees make that decision themselves.”

Some restaurants chose not to open up dining rooms immediately, opting to wait until phase two which still only allows for 50 percent occupancy. Others remain closed saying they can’t bring in enough money with only half their seats filled.

“Our message here today is clear. We are open and we need your business,” Memphis Restaurant Association President Ernie Mellor said.

The Memphis Restaurant Association chose Memphis’ oldest diner to speak out as phase two gets going. Mellor said he’s thankful to the city, county and health department for giving the go ahead for phase two to begin. He said the 200 restaurants within the organization are working hard to make dining in a safe experience.

“The big thing we want you to know is we’re doing things safely,” Mellor said. “We’re following the county’s and the city’s and the health department’s protocols.”

“We’re doing everything from paper menus to taking off all the communicable items off the table like ketchup and sugar,” Zepatos said.

In a city where food shines, it’s going to be a industry wide effort to make sure the darker days are behind them.

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