Health department orders restaurants that can’t comply with boil water advisory to close

MLGW infrastructure issue adding to low water issues across Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department issued a new health order Friday closing any restaurant that uses MLGW water and can’t comply with the precautionary boil water advisory.

Initially, the health department said all restaurants and businesses would need to close but clarified later that establishments that can comply with the boil water advisory can continue operations.

MLGW issued the boil water advisory Thursday because of low water pressure following ice, snow and freezing temperatures. The order says to boil water for three minutes before consuming or cooking with it.

The health department announced the order, effective immediately, at a virtual news conference Friday. The health department will have inspectors checking to make sure businesses are complying with the advisory.

“We do have inspectors that frequent all of these establishments,” said Kasia Smith-Alexander with the Shelby County Health Department. “They are permitted by the health department. So we will be going to ensure they’re doing what they need to do to comply with this.”

“We’re doing this because we want to make sure people are safe and that people do not become infected with a waterborne organism that could occur from the drinking of the water,” said Bruce Randolph, Shelby County health officer.

As of Friday, MLGW said no contaminants have been detected in water samples, but the advisory remains as a precaution as low water pressure continues.

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