No mask, no service: Popular BBQ restaurant closes dine-in services

Updated: Jul. 2, 2020 at 10:08 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In Memphis, you must wear a mask while out and about in public -- even in restaurants.

Patrons are asked to keep on their mask up until the moment they start to eat, but not everyone is following the rules.

Alan Katzen,the owner of One & Only BBQ restaurant said he had to close the dining room at his location on Germantown Parkway,

“We did open the dining room and we went to 50% as we were allowed to do, but it was too stressful for our team,” said Katzen.

His Cordova location is incredibly busy with their drive-thru and curbside services, but Sunday he made the call to temporarily stop dine-in services because some customers refused to wear facial coverings.

“It’s been difficult to get team members to come in and want to take care of people especially when those guests are not willing to put on a mask,” said Katzen.

Last Thursday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland signed an ordinance mandating everyone wear a mask in public.

One week later a representative from the Centers for Disease Control made a special trip to Memphis due to the spike in COVID-19 cases here.

“Everyone here in Shelby County should wear face masks or coverings over their mouth and nose whenever they can to ensure social distancing,” said Rear Admiral Jonathan Mermin with the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, Shelby County recorded its single day record of new cases Thursday -- 421.

As a result, business owners are rethinking their plans for dine-in service.

The Four Way Grill in Soulsville pushed back their original plans to reopen their dining room next week.

At Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe in Midtown, they reopened dine-in service two weeks ago. But according to a Facebook video posted Thursday by Chef Tam, she says they are closing their dining room again due to the COVID-19 spike in Memphis.

Katzen says his decision was based on his employees and what they need to feel safe.

“We can’t wait until we can open the dining room back up again because it’s a good part of our business, but luckily it’s not the biggest part of our business,” said Katzen.

Kratzen says he’s seen a 30% increase in sales over this time last year. He says his curbside, drive-thru and catering sales have done well.

Kratzen has three One & Only BBQ locations in the Mid-south.

His store on Kirby Parkway does not offer dine-in services because the restaurant is too small.

The Southaven location’s dining room is open.

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