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3 adult clubs among businesses allowed to reopen amid fall COVID-19 surge

Updated: Nov. 10, 2020 at 10:51 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As Shelby County deals with a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Shelby County Health Department is allowing more businesses to reopen. Among them, three adult entertainment establishments.

Three Shelby County strip clubs will be allowed to reopen just like restaurants and bars under strict guidelines including in-person checks by the health department.

While reopening to the public will put those employees back to work, the move is raising eyebrows among those trying to stop the spread of COVID -19.

First it was restaurants, then haunted houses, now...

“When the governor said businesses could open up, strip clubs were not in the top of his list," said Dr. Jeff Warren with the Shelby County COVID-9 task force.

The Shelby County Health Department is allowing strip clubs to reopen after being closed for eight months.

Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph says they’re allowing them to open “out of fairness” giving the businesses an opportunity to demonstrate they can follow safety measures. That includes a lot of precautions and restrictions similar to restrictions for restaurants and bars.

The Pony on Winchester Road opened Tuesday night. And you can see some of the precautions like 6 feet markings before entering. Employees and customers have to wear masks and have their temperature taken and sign in.

The health department also toured the clubs being allowed to reopen to make sure protocols are in place and to advise the clubs.

Warren wonders if it’s such a good idea with Shelby County recording its second-highest daily count of Covid-19.. with almost 700 cases Tuesday.

“It seems like there are a few things like lap dances. There’s stuff that goes on in there when there aren’t people there like from the police department watching," said Warren. “It’s going to be too close and there will be drinking.”

The health department says that stuff is not supposed to happen.

No private rooms either.

An employee here at the Pony told WMC customers have to stay 18 feet away from dancers.

The Purple Diamond is scheduled to open on Wednesday and the Gold Club later this week.

An employee who did not want to talk on camera told me there are many guidelines and employees are being trained on what is allowed and what is not. And that includes no standing or gathering at the stage and the clubs have to close at midnight.

A spokesperson for the health department told WMC if a club does not follow the guidelines it will be shut down.

Chip Washington would not say how the health department would know about errant clubs but he reassured me the department will know.

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