Shelby County Commission Meeting Is Today

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.

Information on the meeting is here: link to County Commissioners Website.

Shelby County Commission Committee Meeting

Monday November 23rd 3:00 p.m. CDT

1st Floor Chambers
160 North Main St
Memphis, TN 38103

Registration URL :

Webinar ID : 902-077-355

It is our understanding that your best opportunity to speak will be to attend in person, however, we encourage anyone who would like to attend virtually.

COVID-19 Posts:

Health Directive 15 Statement Input

All Member Meeting

All MRA Members:

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.

If you are unable to attend, please email President-Elect Mike Miller before the meeting for your thoughts to be included.

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
Passcode: mrahd
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Meeting ID: 835 4527 0642
Passcode: 249691
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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.

COVID-19 Posts:

Nov 20 Health Department Update

Nov 20 Update

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.

COVID-19 Posts:

Webinar With Poplar Health on Pool Testing

Pool Testing

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.

COVID-19 Posts:

Nov 16 Health Department Update

Notes from the HD

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.

COVID-19 Posts:

Shelby County Health Directive 13 – October 6

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter says the new directive will be in effect at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 7.


  • Alcohol may only be served with food and to customers who are seated at a table.
  • Foodservice at a table for each customer/group should not exceed two hours.


  • All establishments shall close at 12 midnight. This means that any guests who are already receiving service at 12 midnight may remain there until 12:30 am to complete payment arrangements but may not be served food or beverages after 12 midnight. (Previously 10pm.)
  • Groups no larger than eight (8) may be allowed to enter together and act as a “family unit” so long as each group maintains a distance of six (6) feet from all other groups. (Previously 6.)


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COVID-19 Posts:

Record a Video for More Relief Now

Restaurant ACT

Expanded outdoor dining is an essential lifeline for many restaurants during the ongoing pandemic.  Our most recent survey indicates outdoor dining represents about 44% of revenue for full-service establishments currently.

But the onset of cold weather will require operators to make substantial investments in equipment or risk shutting down outdoor dining.  We are calling on local lawmakers to help restaurant operators in prolonging the outdoor dining season this fall and winter.

We’re asking YOU – restaurant operators and employees – to tell your story of how vital outdoor dining is to your restaurant. Are you worried about the impact cold weather will have on your restaurant’s ability to survive?

By telling your story, we hope to encourage local officials to replicate recent efforts seen in cities such as in the District of Columbia where Mayor Muriel Bowser has allocated $4 million in grants for outdoor dining. 

Upload a quick video HERE, on Restaurants Act.

Thank you for your continued effort on behalf of the industry.

COVID-19 Posts:

Free webinars


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Courtesy of Menus4All

Monday, May 11 at 4pm
Learn all about contactless menus (menus that diners can view on their phone).
Register here.

Courtesy of US Foods

All of USF’s previously recorded webinars are here! Watch on-demand!

View upcoming webinars here.

Courtesy of Sysco

All of SYSCO’s previously recorded webinars are here! Watch on-demand!

View upcoming webinars here.

Courtesy of Memphis Business Journal

Straight Talk: A series on how businesses are navigating the unknown and adjusting operations to survive
Chuck Pinkowski, owner, Pinkowski & Company
Wayne Tabor, president & CEO, Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association
McLean Wilson, principal, Kemmons Wilson Companies

US Foods
Recording from May 3 here

COVID-19 Posts:

Memphis Restaurant Association Free Printables

Contact Tracing Sign Up Form PDF (both quarter sheets and full page) – print this page to keep track of the required name and phone number of parties eating at your establishment. Shelby County Health Directive #8 dated July 8, 2020. Our understanding is that you must collect the name and number of one person per party.

Screening customers Poster PDF According to the Tennessee Pledge (posted here) restaurants are required to screen their customers for illness. We have created a free printable for you to post on all your doors which serves to question your incoming customers.

Free prescription card (print out or save to your phone.) This prescription card will save you money on your prescriptions from the pharmacy. Use it with any insurance you have to see if stacking the discount will save you even more money.

Free Office Depot discount card (print out or save to your phone.) This card can be used for so much. The greatest savings is on copies, but you can save on all sorts of other products from Office Depot like cleaning supplies, office furniture, printer ink, and more.

Please consider joining the Memphis Restaurant Association. You can sign up here.

Governor Lee Extends to Go Drinks for Restaurants Through September

Executive Order No. 59

Executive Order No. 59 extends previous provisions that:

  • Urge persons to wear a cloth face-covering in places where in close proximity to others, while facilitating local decision-making concerning face-covering requirements;
  • Urge social distancing and limit social and recreational gatherings of 50 or more persons, unless adequate social distancing can be maintained;
  • Limit nursing home and long-term-care facility visitation, while providing a framework for safe, limited visitation, and continue the closure of senior centers;
  • Provide that employers and businesses are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group Guidelines (e.g., Tennessee Pledge) for operating safely (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments have authority to issue different directives on businesses/venues);
  • Provide that bars may only serve customers seated at appropriately spaced tables and must follow the Economic Recovery Group Guidelines (e.g., Tennessee Pledge) for restaurants (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments have authority to issue different directives on businesses/venues);
  • Continue access take-out alcohol sales to encourage carryout and delivery orders;
  • Allow broad access to telehealth services;
  • Increase opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce;
  • Facilitate increased testing and health care capacity;
  • Extend deadlines and suspend certain in-person continuing education, gathering, or inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact; and
  • Increase opportunities to work remotely where appropriate.
COVID-19 Posts: