Restaurants feel singled out for something they have no control over in new directive

Restaurants respond to latest health directive

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Restaurant owners and workers say they’re being served a cold dish by the Shelby County Health Department.

Restaurant owners take action ahead of Shelby County Health directive

”It’s a big hit for us, 25% is basically pretty close to being shut down,” said Sarah Morse, Assistant Manager, Sunrise Memphis.

”No one is going to make any money this year, so the whole goal is to just kinda like the NCAA tournament to survive and advance, “ said John Vergos, Co-Owner, Rendezvous.

Cocktail bar, Alchemy announced they are shutting down through the holidays and, Rendezvous, one of Memphis’s iconic BBQ spots, has decided to close indoor dining.

Several Shelby County commissioners join restaurant workers against new health directive

”Our reasoning was just our concern for, you know, our customers, but especially our staff,” said Vergos.

Over at the Green Beetle, they say layoffs are happening.

”Today, I just laid off four today, actually because of this new directive,” said Nick, kitchen manager at The Green Beetle.

Nick says a total of 10 employees have been laid off this week.

All of those local favorites along with the Memphis Restaurant Association feel like they are doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, but feel like they are being singled out.

The Memphis Restaurant Association released the following statement Tuesday:

“Restaurants are, in fact, among the safest places to be due to social distancing, mask requirements, and numerous other regulations ensuring the safety of our staff and guests. Local, state and national data (see links below) bear out the truth that restaurants are not a significant source of transmission, yet our local officials continue to unreasonably single out the restaurant industry. We are disappointed with the Health Department’s decisions and continued lack of communication and are asking for the support of our membership, employees, and community by contacting community leaders to push back against this injustice. Shutting restaurants down drives the public to higher-risk, unregulated, private gatherings.”

Shelby County announces safer-at-home order limiting indoor dining

“It does seem unfair that restaurants are being singled out,” said Morse.

”The horrible part about it all is it’s really not the restaurants’ fault that these things are happening it’s private parties and stuff that we can’t control,” said Misty Steffes, server at The Green Beetle.

Vergos says it’s not about pointing fingers, but admits it’s frustrating when people are not doing their part to help.

“I’m a little bit upset that many people that want to reopen the economy, reopen the economy are the same ones that don’t want to wear masks, don’t believe in social distancing,” said Vergos.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.