MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Over the holiday weekend, the Shelby County Health Department along with law enforcement forcefully shut down five businesses operating in defiance of the latest county health directive.
“It was a mixed weekend, but there were plenty of positive elements to it,” David Sweat, Deputy Director of the Shelby County Health Department, said.
County public health officials gave out high and low marks for the community over the Labor Day holiday.
Officials indicated the Tigers game Saturday got high marks, with fans adhering to the no tailgating rule at Tiger Lane and staying 12 feet apart inside the Liberty Bowl.
But that’s where the praise stopped.
“What we do know is that throughout the weekend we continued to receive a significant number of complaints about businesses that were open despite the fact that by the health directive they should have been closed,” Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director, said.
The health department reported 13 visits to establishments over the weekend, with eight of them fully compliant and five forced to close. The department said businesses shut down cannot reopen until permitted by the health department and defying the closure order could result in criminal charges for owners.
All five closed were located on Winchester Road and included bars, lounges, and clubs.
Five businesses forcibly closed:
- The Indulge Lounge, 5959 Winchester Rd, Memphis 38115
- In Love Memphis, 7144 Winchester Road, Memphis TN 38115
- Dubai Hookah Bar, 6700 Winchester Rd. Memphis 38115
- Menue Club, 642 Winchester Road Memphis 38115
- Height Lounge, 813 Winchester Rd. Memphis 38115
Eight business visited and deemed compliant:
- Lafayette’s – on Madison -- COMPLIANT
- The Blue’s Club – on Airways Blvd -- COMPLIANT
- Sweet Noshings Candy store – Overton Square -- only non-compliance was allowing self-service from candy jars, manager was cooperative for correction
- Robata Restaurant – on Madison Square -- COMPLIANT
- Local – on Madison Square -- COMPLIANT
- Blow Hookah Lounge – Exocet Drive, Cordova -- COMPLIANT
- Bayou Bar & Grill – Overton Square -- COMPLIANT
- Golden India Restaurant – Overton Square -- COMPLIANT
Marshaun Newell, an owner at Dubai Hookah Bar, told WMC Action News 5′s Kendall Downing he was under the impression his establishment could be open. Newell said officials shut down the bar Saturday around noon.
“Five in one weekend is more than we would have liked to close, but we have reached a point where we have facilities that continue to have large crowds, that continue to sell alcohol, and continue to have individuals that are neither social distancing nor face masking,” Haushalter said.
Health department officials indicated Tuesday their enforcement of the latest directive is stepping up as we head into the late summer and early fall, with cases declining in the last few weeks.
“We are out there doing enforcement actions. We have a coordinated effort between the sheriff’s department, the Memphis Police Department, the county government, and city governments across the county to enforce the health directive and intend to do so,” David Sweat, Chief Epidemiologist and Deputy Director of the Shelby County Health Department, said.
Public health officials said no changes will be coming to the latest health directive for at least two weeks. That’s because officials said they want to wait a full 14-day incubation period to see if there are impacts on transmission from Labor Day activities as well as the resumption of school and sports activities.