Shelby County releases tougher new rules for restaurants during pandemic


An employee sets up a table Monday at Porch & Parlor in Overton Square.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new health directive issued Friday puts more restrictions on restaurants in Shelby County.

Among the rules, diners must wear a mask at all times, unless they are taking a bite or a sip. Food and beverage sales have to end at 10 p.m.

Further, county schools are “strongly encouraged to suspend all school-related close-contact sports at this time.”

The following applies to businesses that have food and/or alcohol permits:

  • Must require their customers to be seated while eating or drinking, and
    indoor seating must not exceed 50% capacity of the establishment.
  • Must require their customers to wear a mask at all times except for when
    the customer is actually eating a bite of food or drinking a beverage.
  • No more than 6 guests (with a maximum of 4 adults) may be seated at the
    same table, and they must be of the same household.
  • Any person at one table cannot be within 6 feet distance from any person
    at another table.
  • Food service shall not exceed two hours.
  • All bar counters must be closed for seating.
  • Standing, gathering, or ordering at a bar is not allowed.
  • Dancing is not permitted.
  • All food and beverage service shall close at 10 pm. This means that any
    guests who are already receiving service at 10 pm may remain there until
    10:30 pm to complete payment arrangements but may not be served food or
    beverages after 10 pm.
  • If properly permitted by local and state law, any curb-side, drive-thru, or
    delivery services may continue, but any such sales of alcoholic beverages
    must end at 10 pm.
  • Only staff needed to close, open, clean, or operate curb-side/delivery
    services shall be in any establishment between the hours of 10:30 pm and
    5:00 am. Legally permitted curb-side, drive-thru, and delivery service may
    continue (except for the sale of alcoholic beverages as provided above)
    without the restriction of closing at 10 pm as long as such services also
    comply with state law.

The complete Shelby County Health Department Health Order is here.

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