COVID-19 update from MRA

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

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