Health Department Meeting Thursday, December 3

MRA Health Department Update

On Thursday, December 3, Mayor Harris and Dr. Haushalter, along with 3 municipal mayors hosted a zoom meeting to address our concerns regarding public and industry communication, understanding, and involvement.  Ernie Mellor, Mike Miller, Shawn Danko, Steve Voss, Sally Fienup, Deni Reilly, and Kelly English were all in attendance and contributed questions and comments. This was a productive start to furthering our relationship with Mayor Harris and the Health Department.  Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Mayor Harris will be our point person in getting answers and clarification and is committed to increasing the frequency and quality of communications
  • We set another meeting for 12/17 and will continue to meet regularly
  • The decision-making process is definitely health-driven but does also take into account some measure of feedback regarding community, economic, and social impact. This is the area we MUST continue to bring balance to.
  • Data is only part of the decision-making “rationale.” Unfortunately, this means there is no black and white answer as to what and when changes get made.
  • We reiterated throughout the meeting that future closures should not be on the table. As we all speak with our elected officials, we need to hammer this message home…Closures are not an option!
  • Federal guidance for Tennessee IS to close restaurants and bars, but Dr Haushalter and Mayor Harris chose not to.
  • Enclosed tents that do not allow outside air to flow are to be treated with the same limitations as indoor dining. Outdoor dining remains the same with regard to social distance guidelines
  • The vaccine is coming to Memphis in the coming weeks, but health care workers will be given priority. We did ask that restaurant workers take priority as well as the vaccine comes online.
  • Our action plan is to submit questions so Mayor Harris for answers and clarity. We are compiling a list of all the comments submitted and discussed leading up to our letter from last week. We will email those questions and answers as well as post them on our website as they come in.

Net of the meeting was positive but did not provide as many answers or affect the change many of us would like to see. This is just the first step of many, though, to our voice being heard as decisions get made.