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Restaurants anticipate looser COVID-19 restrictions in upcoming health directive

Health directive 19 will be announced March 17 and will go into effect March 20.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — More loosened restrictions are on the way in the upcoming Shelby County health directive impacting restaurants. It’s giving owners more relief and customers a greater sense of normalcy.  

Restaurants have had to deal with an arduous road when it comes to the tightening of restrictions now they can look forward to even looser rules when it comes to dining.  

“Some relaxing restrictions is coming all of this is tentative,” said Memphis Restaurant Association President Mike Miller.  

Thursday Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris spoke with members of the Memphis Restaurant Association via a Zoom call and discussed possible changes to COVID-19 restrictions in the next Shelby County health directive.  

“Extending curfew to 1 a.m. as far as closure," Miller said. "Extending the party size allowable at tables from 6 to 8 also reducing or eliminating contact tracing needs at the doors.” 

Miller said in addition the two-hour dining limit may be changed or eliminated all together and monitoring of masks might be changed as well. 

But what’s going to remain? Masks, capacity limits and the spacing of 6 feet apart.  

“These are steps in the right direction," said the association president. "We’ve still got a ways to go. We’ve got to get the community vaccinated." 

Miller owns Patrick's in East Memphis. He said while restaurants are thankful for the loosened restrictions, many are still waiting for more light at the end of the tunnel.  

“There’s a lot of folks that are still hurting businesswise with the restrictions as they are. Particularly our downtown folks.”  

Health directive 19 will be released March 17th and goes into effect March 20th.  

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