COVID-19 Resources and Links


Update 3/31:

Thanks, Memphis Travel for letting us know about this Facebook group. They created a group for members of the tourism & hospitality industry to share information during this pandemic. The focus of this group is on the changes to strategy and tactics necessary during social distancing and quarantine. We’d love some restaurants in the group to share what they have been doing that has helped engage their customers and social following. Join by clicking here.


Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) Executive Summary for Restaurants
Summary compiled by the National Restaurant Association

Memphis restaurants that are open for business (no dine-in as of 3/19)

We have compiled several lists already in progress here. Please click here to find restaurants open.

Help from home

Click this post for ways to help the restaurant industry without leaving your house.

MRA COVID-19 Posts:

Resource links

  • TN Mass Layoff List – This is the preferred method if your business has already closed and you are not in contact with employees. Employers provide the state with a list of employee names and other required information to expedite the approval process of an unemployment claim.
  • Patrick Accounting (one of our members and sponsors) is helping their clients. Read how here.
  • It is our understanding that employers can still offer health insurance to their furloughed or laid off employees if they are able. Please contact Sally Pace (click for email) CHC Healthcare with questions.
  • Take this survey by Memphis Chamber which applies to March 23-27.
  • Take the survey by the National Restaurant Association.
  • Memphis Chamber list of jobs available right now. (More job ideas on our jobs page.)
  • Evans Petree Law Firm – Our firm is already working with small to medium-sized businesses across varying industries to evaluate qualifications and benefits available under The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The Cares act expands existing eligibility requirements and provides greater funding opportunities for businesses seeking relief from the federal government under two Small Business Administration Loan programs. Under the SBA 7(a) program, businesses are eligible to borrow up to $10 million with significant loan forgiveness if the funds are used for payroll, lease payments, and other general expenses. Under the disaster assistance program, businesses are eligible to borrow up to $2 million. We are working to create a simple and concise chart comparing the salient aspects of both the SBA 7(a) loan program and the disaster assistance program, and we hope to have that for you shortly. We are available to discuss the programs further or assist them in the application process. See the chart here.
  • Register to watch the replay of this webinar by Whirks and Patrick Accounting about Updates and Q&A for Employers: COVID-19
  • Click this link to a replay of a webinar by the National Restaurant Association about the CARES Act.
  • FROM MLGW – How to reduce your energy costs when closed for dine-in business. Click for the pdf.

Hospitality TN links.

Memphis Chamber links.

Memphis Tourism links.

National Restaurant Association links.


TN Businesses Now Eligible for SBA Loans!


President Trump announced a $50 billion aid package to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, including a major block of federally sponsored funding to small businesses through the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). [Trump Calls for $50B in SBA Loans to Combat COVID-19] SBA will administer loans to impacted businesses through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, which is a direct lending program through the SBA:

  • The loan program provides capital to businesses impacted by natural disasters, such as the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Loans of up to $2 million are available at very low rates for up to 30 year terms.
  • Loan proceeds may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
  • On a case by case basis, loans offered under this program may have a forgiveness clause as a feature.

In order for businesses to gain access to the program, they must be within an area that has been designated as an impacted area (state of emergency) by the Governor of the impacted state. As of 3/18/2020 Tennessee has not been designated as eligible for the COVID-19 EIDL program but we anticipate an announcement in the near future.

TN Businesses Now Eligible for SBA Loans! Read more here.

Please visit follow the designations here.

These loans carry higher risks and low interest rates and are designed as an abatement measure to sustain businesses. As a result, this program is offered directly through the SBA and not partner banks.

Impacted businesses:

Please visit here for more information. You will likely expedite your electronic application submission if you collect all of the required information prior to the electronic submission. Please visit review the SBA Form 5 (found here) to understand the documentation and information required for the disaster loan application. Additional documentation referenced within SBA Form 5 can be found here. Please note that the purpose of reviewing these forms is to understand the information required for electronic submission.
To apply, please visit here.
Additional questions can be answered by the SBA Disaster Loan processing center at 1-800-659-2955.

COVID-19 Posts:

Do I Still Have to Pay Taxes During the Pandemic


Please verify any tax questions with your own accountant. The MRA will not be held liable for any misinformation here. This page is meant to help you and you are responsible for your own tax deadlines.

Sales Tax and Payroll Tax

The governor is not suspending sales, franchise and excise, or payroll taxes currently. They will be due on their normal due date.

IRS Taxes – April 15 payment (not filing) deadline extended to July 15

Updated 3/20 – IRS extends tax filing deadline to July 15 as coronavirus spreads [news source]

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns remains April 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the April 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return. [source]

COVID-19 Posts:

GoFundMe by Edible Memphis

Edible Memphis

Edible Memphis has started a fund that can be accessed by workers whose hours have been curtailed or eliminated because of this crisis and who are not being otherwise compensated. Though the assistance now is just for industry workers, in the future it may also be used for short-term loans to business owners who have been impacted.

Donate to the fund now.

COVID-19 Posts:

Relief Grants for the Hospitality Industry

Community Foundation

The Community Foundation of Memphis is starting a fund for temporary grants for those affected by the loss of work. Hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis Foundation, the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund will provide flexible funding to organizations working with community members who have been impacted by novel coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak in our region of West Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible.

Welcome to Memphis will be administering to the Hospitality Industry. Stay tuned for information on applying, and for those interested in donating, click here to go to the Community Foundation of Memphis website as their donation page is open already. (Applications to receive grants are not yet live.)

COVID-19 Posts:

How to File Loss of Income Insurance


Our sources in the insurance industry recommend this:
The ‘loss of business’ insurance is not covered under the COVID-19 pandemic, however, they are recommending we file the claim. You will likely have a claim dollar amount listed in your policy. It will likely get turned down. However, if State or Federal legislation intervenes and if coverage is in any way determined to be effective we would want your claim to be on record and not be jeopardized by a late reporting provision requirement in the policy.

To view our members in the insurance sector, click here. If you are an insurer in the Memphis area, we would love to have you as a member.

COVID-19 Posts:

Act Now US Travel Petition – Sign By Noon Friday Mar 20


ACT BY NOON FRIDAY: Join Our Industry Sign-On Letter for financial support to travel-dependent businesses

Please sign this petition which will go to Congress.

We can all take action right now.

By noon ET tomorrow, March 20, please sign onto this industry letter that will be sent to Congress. Please share this link with your membership, partners, stakeholders—anyone who you think may want to signal their support.

Click here to sign the petition.

COVID-19 Posts:

ALERT!!! Mandate to Close ALL Restaurants- Dine-In Only will come from Mayor Strickland this afternoon!


Dear MRA Members, Associate Members and Non-Member Restaurants!

I am sorry to say that we just got word from Mayor Strickland’s office that he will mandate the shut-down of restaurants. This pertains to dine-in only. You will still be able to operate take out, to-go, drive-thru, curbside and delivery options.

Strickland declares civil emergency; bars, gyms closed, restaurants to offer take-out, delivery

I can only assume that this means at the end of business today! If that is different, we will re-post.

Again, Mayor Strickland will mandate the closing of Restaurant Dining Rooms starting tomorrow!

We will continue to keep you posted on all points and angles with everything that is affecting our businesses.


Ernie Mellor, President

COVID-19 Posts:


COVID-19 update from MRA

Social Distancing Policy

Monday, March 16, 2020

A note from the Memphis Restaurant Association to all Membership, Non-Members, MMHLA & the Memphis Community in Response to the COVID-19 situation.

Our lives are changing rapidly in uncharted territory with the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus. We have posted notices on good hygiene from the CDC and the local Health Department; handwashing frequently, stay home if you are sick and keeping your distance from others when possible. Below is protocol that the MRA feels is smart and safe and will keep our businesses moving. These are all common-sense objectives and would ask that ALL Restaurants in the Memphis Area follow these guidelines.

We want to assure our guests and customers that we putting in and emphasizing these measures to ensure the utmost in food safety and the safety and health of our employees and that of the public.

Following these measures will hopefully instill confidence in our clients and customers to continue patronizing our businesses. These guidelines are a self-policing measure and we emphasize that everyone should follow them. With these in place, we are doing our duty to curb the spread of the virus and continue providing great food and services to all Memphians. We hope and pray there is not a mandate to completely shut down our businesses for any length of time.

Self-Policing Protocol

  • As of Sunday, March 15, the CDC recommends no gatherings of 50+ people
  • Seating-distancing
    • Restaurants and Bars should encourage social distancing by either removing. seating/tables so that more space between tables. OR
    • Close every other table with proper signage.
    • The Goal is to keep occupancy at 50% or less.
    • Social Distancing is defined at 6’ apart.
  • Encourage Guests to return home at the end of the night. This can be done by cutting back on closing times to 9 pm or 10 pm for restaurants and 11 pm or 12 am for bars.
  • Sanitizing common and frequently touched surfaces, regularly, every 30 minutes or more where warranted.
  • Removing/handling items below from tables and presenting them on request…
    • S&P Shakers
    • Sweeteners
    • Crackers & the like
    • Condiments such as mustard, ketchup, hot sauce
      • Wipe and sanitize these after each use
    • Lemons and other garnishes for food or drinks should be moved to the plate or glass with tongs, not the hand.
  • Menus – Direct guests to your menu website from their personal mobile devices. If they prefer a menu in hand give them printed/disposable copies of the menu. Throw the menus away after each use.
    • If continuing to use laminated menus, sanitize after each use!
  • Employee guidelines
    • All touching between persons is forbidden. No hugs, handshakes, shoulder taps, fist bumps or any other touching should be allowed.
    • ALL Employees (FOH& BOH) are to wash their hands for 20 seconds w/ soap…
    • After bussing tables.
      • Keep hands/fingers off of glass rims when bussing
    • After accepting payment from a guest.
    • All employees to wash hands at least once every 30 minutes.
  • Other Guidelines
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze,
    • Stay home when you’re sick, and
    • See your doctor if you think you’re ill.


  • Encourage your customers to call/on-line ordering directly from you vs. 3rd Parties (UberEats) for delivery services.
  • Ramp up your take out business.
  • If you do not already have customer take-out parking you might make that a priority.
    • NOTE: The City of Memphis is willing to work with us, for those that don’t have parking lots, to designate ‘pull up’ spaces for pick up orders. Go to to inquire more or to make that happen for you.
  • Also, consider a Grab-and-Go refrigerator by your cash register with pre-prepared meals for your customers to warm up when they get home.
  • HOTELS: Remind your guests about room service and take out availability from your restaurants.

Please follow these guidelines to help keep our businesses open and running!


Ernie Mellor, President
Memphis Restaurant Association
Owner, HOG WILD-Real Memphis BBQ & AMF Catering

Any questions, concerns or suggestions please email Sally Fienup, MRA Executive Director

COVID-19 Posts: