Shelby County Commission Meeting is today! It is an in-person meeting at 3:00p. There is an opportunity to speak for 3 minutes in the beginning. Dr. Haushalter is first on the agenda so we should be able to speak, then hear her comments, and not stay for the entire meeting.
(To clarify – there is ALSO an MRA-Members-Only zoom meeting at 1:30pm today. Read about it here.)
We want to notify you of this opportunity to appear, but please know that at least a few members of the MRA Board will be there.
Please join in the conversation about a collective position to present to the public, our elected officials, and the Shelby County Health Dept regarding Friday, November 20th’s release of Health Directive 15 (link to it is here). We have already heard opinions across the spectrum from acquiescence to protests, lawsuits, and many in between. We need to come up with a common message that the majority of us agree to address our concerns and continue to show that we are seriously and diligently handling public safety concerns while also considering the livelihood of our family, staff, and community.
Please take the time to share your thoughts.
The goal will be to write a letter to the Health Department, Mayors, and other elected officials that each member can sign on to, and distribute. Once we have a letter drafted, each member will have the opportunity to sign their name to the letter to be sent. It will then be redistributed to both members and officials for dissemination.
Scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Health Department All Membership Meeting
Time: Nov 23, 2020 01:30 PM Central Time Join Zoom Meeting with this link
Meeting ID: 835 4527 0642
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Meeting ID: 835 4527 0642
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcprXPNQzi
Vendors are welcome to attend, but this meeting will focus on the thoughts and opinions of restauranteurs. Please make sure your zoom name is clear so there is no delay in admitting you from the zoom waiting room.
We know that, despite the Health Department Directive being updated today (link to #14), there will be an updated directive this afternoon or this evening.
It appears they are not going to close any businesses fully, rather just add more restrictions.
Our understanding of the new directive is that it will affect curfew and capacity only, although we don’t know the details.
We believe this will go into effect Monday or Tuesday.
As always, please read the directive for yourself when it is made public.
Please know that the MRA has been in constant contact with the Health Department, fighting, even pleading, to save our restaurants. Ernie, our current President, has been on the phone with them three times this week. Unfortunately, the Health Department still is not forthcoming with details. As we learn of ANY updates, we will immediately send out what we know.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to us.
You are invited to a webinar tomorrow to learn about the Test to Protect program by Poplar Healthcare.
Zoom Info – 9am, Wednesday, November 18 Join Zoom Meeting
Email us for zoom meeting info – email here.
Test To Protect Thank you for your interest in the Test to Protect program, which is also referred to as assurance testing for local Mid-South organizations. We have been pleased by the overwhelming interest in this program, and are encouraged by the prospect of so many organizations looking to ensure the community can operate more safely during this pandemic.
In this message, I will provide an overview of the program, which includes two types of asymptomatic testing options offered by Poplar Healthcare. Next week, I will begin scheduling webinars to showcase the web-based software you would use to manage and facilitate testing. Once I get those webinars scheduled, I will send you an invitation to each of them and you can accept whichever one works best with your schedule.
Option 1: Individual Specimen Pooling
Individual Specimen Pooling works by collecting a swab, from an asymptomatic individual, and placing it into a tube labeled for that specific person. Once at the lab, we pool/combine those specimens into groups of 5, 10 or 20 and process them as one pooled/combined specimen. If the pool is negative, each person receives a negative result. If the pool sample is positive, we go back and run each specimen individually to find the positive case(s). Then each result is reported. With this option, each person receives a result—either positive or negative—without needing an additional test. The cost for this option is up to $20 per test.
Option 2: Swab Pooling
Swab pooling, also referred to as “pod” testing, is the newest pooling option we have to offer. With this method, each person has their own nasal swab; however, up to 20 individual swabs are combined into one tube at the point of collection. If the combined pod/tube is negative, each person is negative. If the pod/tube is positive, the individuals are notified that their pod/tube was positive and each must get individually tested. They can go to any site/clinic offering individual testing, which includes Poplar Healthcare through our on-site drive thru testing, which is available Monday—Saturday between 8am—12pm. The follow-up test is covered by insurance. The cost for Swab Pooling is $100 per tube—regardless of how many individual swabs are placed into the tube. If you maximize the tube with 20 individual swabs, the cost comes out to $5/test.
Our current President, Ernie Mellor, had a call with Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Directory of the Shelby County Health Department this week. Here is a summary of their conversation and some talking points. Feel free to share this with employees and the public.
Workplaces are getting lax between co-workers, meaning NOT mask-wearing when they are just with co-workers. When an employee is with a customer, most are complying well with mask-wearing.
The reason it is important to wear masks even with just coworkers: remember 1 in 5 positive COVID cases are asymptomatic (link to study). So you don’t know if your coworker is sick!
Current Health Department concerns: employees are coming to work with flu, cold, allergy symptoms for 2 or 3 days. On the 3rd or 4th day they are feeling bad enough to get tested and test positive for COVID. (They have spread the virus for 3 days at that point.)
The Health Department is really asking employers to pay attention to employees, ask the health questions, get the temperatures. Send them home when they need to go home or have symptoms. Take this seriously!
Increasing transmissions are coming from places where masks are not worn or worn on a limited basis. Restaurants, Bars & Gyms. The Health Department does not intend nor wants to cut back on our work hours or worse, more limited seating restrictions. However, they still have the right to do so if they feel they need to.
The Health Department is pleading to the public to wear their masks as much as possible, to police themselves, to keep the distance. They are asking the public to go to restaurants at less busy times, such as 11:00 am or earlier or after 1:00 for lunch. They are asking folks to put masks on between bites.
Pool Testing: They are believers in pool testing. However, per Dr. Haushalter, it is imperative that all employees test. She is recommending testing once per week. Once every 2 weeks is not enough for the mathematics of finding a positive case and getting that person quarantined.
Owner/operator of Patrick’s for over 15 years and have worked in the industry for over 35 years.
Past MRA President and Board member 2007-2012
2015 MRA Restaurateur of the Year
2019 TN State Restaurateur of the Year
Hired our first MRA Lobbyist
Re-engaged with state Hospitality Assn Implemented term limits for MRA Board
Started MRAPAC and began working to build representation with state and local officials as well as influencing industry-related legislation
Work to rebuild an inclusive membership that shares ideas, communicates, listens, and responds to member needs.
Continue to build MRAPAC awareness, understanding, and impact
Update MRA By-Laws to address structural and directional changes Build continuity for the future through clear communication, accountability, and implementation of structural expectations
Shawn Danko, Kooky Canuck
I was born in Montreal Quebec Canada and started working in my uncle’s bar at the age of 12. I began working for the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto and, over 13 years, was promoted from bouncer to Assistant GM to GM. I moved to Memphis in 2000.
My wife, Lana, and I opened Kooky Canuck in downtown Memphis in 2005. Kooky has been featured on the Irish Travel Channel, Trailer Park Boys, Gas Monkey Garage, You Gotta Eat Here on Food Network Canada, World Food Championships, Black Ink Crew; New York and was the first restaurant filmed for Man v Food in 2008. In 2014 we opened our second location in Cordova.
I have served on the board of directors for Memphis Tourism, Memphis Restaurant Association, Metro Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association, and Hospitality Tennessee.
I’m very active lobbying for the hospitality industry at the local, state, and federal levels and am the Chair of the Memphis Restaurant Association PAC.
Lynde Sumrall-Tackett, Half Shell
For as long as I can remember I have been involved in the restaurant industry. My father and late mother have been successful restauranteurs in the Memphis for the past 40 plus years.
I have always had a passion to work in the service industry. I spent a good portion of my youth working in many different roles within the restaurant industry. My father instilled the drive to learn the business from every angle. I have navigated positions from a hostess all through Management. This has given me a broad experience of all the expectations required to be successful in the industry.
If I am elected to the board I would like to implement the following ideas.
Improve communications with health Dept and other local governing bodies.
Work with the health department to safely move past current and future pandemics and stop the bleeding in the industry.
To help ensure that our industry is at the table and not on the table.
Thank you for your consideration for this position.
Eric Vernon, Bar-B-Q Shop
I am the Manager/Owner of The Bar-B-Q Shop, voted #1 ribs in America by the Food Network’s “Top Five Restaurants.” Our family-owned restaurant has been featured on one of Bobby Flay’s shows and written about in Southern Living.
I graduated from the University of Memphis and hold an MBA from there, as well. I currently serve on the Board of both Welcome to Memphis and Memphis Restaurant Association.
Steve Voss, Huey’s
I am Steve Voss with Huey’s Restaurants. I have been Huey’s for 21 years and now hold the position of V.P. of Operations. My experience in the industry also includes working as Food Broker for Delta Foodservice, General Manager for the Cooker Bar and Grille, and bartending/serving at a few restaurants such as Houston’s, Mortimer’s, and Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant while attending the University of Memphis way back in the day.
The Restaurant business has been in my veins my whole life. I believe I inherited this passion from my grandmother Ola Voss, who was the General Manager of the Old Knickerbocker and Patterson’s Restaurant back in the ’70s.
I served on the MRA Board back in 2006 as Sergeant at Arms.
My goal is to get back involved with the MRA, continue the tradition, and help share ideas, communicate, listen, and respond to all members.
I am willing to serve and actively contribute to the best of my ability.
Terry Trim, Tops
As the recently appointed president of Tops Bar-B-Q, the iconic 67-year-old Memphis franchise, I bring more than 30 years of industry experience and a fresh perspective to my role. With an extensive background in restaurant and management experience, a successful track record in building growth and expansion, employee development, and strategic planning, I am well-prepared to serve the MRA in a new era and have exciting plans for growth.
I am a Shelby County native and alumni of the University of Memphis. I have worked with national brands including Macaroni Grill, TGI Friday’s, Bennigan’s, and Caesars Entertainment, as well as local Memphis favorites The North End and Kooky Canuck. A firm believer in giving back to his community, I have also been active with such organizations like Memphis Downtown Association, and local charities such as St. Jude, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Madonna Learning Center.
Jeff Zepatos, Arcade
My family owns The Arcade in Downtown Memphis. The Arcade has the honor of being Memphis’ oldest restaurant. Speros Zepatos founded the diner in 1919 after immigrating from Cephalonia, Greece.
I graduated from Ole Miss and am the Treasurer of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. I have served on the Memphis Restaurant Association Board for 2 years.
Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Senator Cramer (R-ND) introduced the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2020, a bipartisan bill that will provide targeted economic relief for struggling travel-related businesses. The bill includes improvements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit and several targeted tax credits and deductions for hard-hit travel businesses and workers.
Please join us for a targeted social campaign coordinated by U.S. Travel.
We are asking all travel businesses and workers to post on Twitter and Facebook so we can seize the attention of Congress and the administration to tell them we need their help!
U.S. Travel has compiled suggested messaging, sample posts, and social graphics to make it easy for all of us to send out the right message en masse. Please use their Social Guide and join us on Twitter and Facebook!
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Join us in demanding Congress finish the work they started and pass, at the very least, a standalone bill that provides relief for small businesses. Time is running out—we must ACT NOW in order to secure our broader industry as much relief and protection as possible. Contact your members of Congress TODAY.
Tag the administration or congressional leadership in a social post using this social media guide