The Memphis Restaurant Association has issued a statement in response to the new health directive announced on Monday.
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.
The statement ended with the tag #SafePlacesSaveLives and provided a myriad of links to back up their claims. Among the links were a Tennessee government link showing fatality rates in the state, a Democrat & Chronicle story from New York that looks at contact tracing data, a story from News 4 Nashville covering a statement from the Nashville Mayor, and a news story from Los Angeles covering the spread of COVID in restaurants.
Under Health Directive 16, restaurants are encouraged to close or operate at 25 percent capacity from the 26th of December to the 22nd of January.