Nine businesses shut by Shelby County Health Department over COVID-19 violations

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nine businesses across Shelby County, including a Beale Street club and two locations of a popular restaurant chain, were notified they would have to shut their doors this weekend for 14 days.

The health department said each business was closed due to multiple violations of the county’s new health directive. Closing a business is not the first choice, they said, but is what they have to do when there’s a public health concern.

“Over the weekend, based on the inspections that were made as of this morning, we’re closing nine facilities based on the inspections made,” Dr. Alisa Haushalter, the Shelby County Health Dept. Director, said.

The businesses are:

Brinson’s, 341 Madison Ave.; E2 Ultra Lounge, 1675 Barcrest Road; Menu Club, 6616 Winchester; Tex’s Roadhouse, 4396 Old Raleigh-LaGrange Road; TJ Mulligans, 2821 N. Houston Levee Road and TJ Mulligans, 8071 Trinity Road; The Blac Betty, 1331 Thomas St.; Statuz Club, 4672 American Way; and Tin Roof, 315 Beale St.

A closure typically happens after multiple warnings but there are exceptions when there’s violations considered in the red zone like overcrowding, lack of masks and social distancing.

One of those businesses shut down this weekend was Brinson’s Banquets on Madison.

“We felt like it was totally unfair especially they came in and were very understanding on Friday night. They explained to us what our response was supposed to be,” said Eric Brinson, of Brinson’s Banquets.

Dr. David Sweat with the health department said since Aug. 1, the department has done 2,700 inspections, 760 in restaurants and bars.

Those have resulted in 17 closures: 11 bars and restaurants (two of those were closed twice) plus two hookah bars, one adult venue and one event center.

“That’s 17 closures but we’ve done more than 2,700 inspections,” Sweat said. “So closure is certainly not our first resort. In fact it’s our last resort.”

That said, county commissioners and business owners expressed concerns about the long-term impact of closing a business.

“Small businesses, we matter to, and we should be give some consideration because we’re the ones really taking the major hit throughout this entire pandemic,” Brinson said.

The health department says business owners can submit a plan to reopen after 14 days. It has to show what steps they will take to be in compliance.

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