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It could be a long wait for some Memphis bars & restaurants to reopen

The health department says a 28-day decline in COVID numbers is needed before reopening.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — It will be at least a month before bars and limited service restaurants are allowed to reopen. Dr. Bruce Randolph, Shelby County Health Officer said in order for the businesses to open their doors to the public, he would need to see a 28-day downward trend in COVID-19 numbers.

Shelby County closed bars and what are called “limited service” restaurants July 7th.

The owner of the restaurant Alchemy said not knowing when they can open back up is beyond frustrating.

"We can’t measure what we are supposed to do, plan for anything, order products," said Nick Scott.

Nick Scott hoped by now his Cooper-Young restaurant would be back open for business. His entire staff has been laid off for almost a month. The health department shut down limited Service restaurants, like Alchemy, and bars under the claim those types of facilities could cause COVID-19 to spread.

Those business owners have been waiting and wondering when they might be able to reopen.

During Thursday’s news conference, Dr. Randolph finally gave a timeline

"We would have to look at a 28-day downward trend and then we would make some decisions," said Dr. Randolph. "It’s not just the downward trend, but how steep of a downward trend has occurred, and that would determine how soon of an action we would take."

"They are still just skirting around any specific details, I think. It feels like they are shooting from the hip," said Scott.

Scott understands the county wants to do what it can to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but thinks waiting for a 28-day decline is extreme, and being closed that long may put many of the establishments out of business.

"I'm confident Alchemy will survive. It will be a different landscape when we get back into it, " said Scott.

Scott hopes the health department will revise that number to allow him and the others to open sooner.

August 6 - City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Covid Task Force Update

August 6 - City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint Covid Task Force Update

Posted by City of Memphis on Thursday, August 6, 2020

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