The Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys & Consultants is a select organization of alcoholic beverage licensing and compliance professionals.
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Tennessee restaurants reopening: What can we do besides eat?


May 5, 2020

Restaurants and other establishments that serve a menu of food were allowed to open in Tennessee beginning April 27. Memphis and Nashville remain closed.

We have been fielding questions about what else customers are allowed to do besides eat, including playing cornhole or ping-pong or being entertained by a live comedian.

We also have been hearing: would we have to serve food during all hours of operation?

Feed folks

Food service is a requirement for bars to be open, as we read Executive Order 30. You might close the kitchen half an hour before closing, but we strongly encourage any restaurant or bar to have a menu of food items available at all times.

Can you scale back the menu? Sure. Feel free to keep it simple and calculated to tempt patrons to indulge in a meal.

Can you use a food truck and avoid the cost of opening your kitchen? Unofficial guidance says no. If you open your restaurant or bar, you have to serve food - your food. You could supplement your food with a food truck, but why invite competition and cut into your own food sales?

Don’t entertain

As far as entertainment, Executive Order # 30 specifically prohibits the following from opening:

bars (unless serving a menu of food), nightclubs, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, sporting event venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas, adult entertainment venues, amusement parks, senior centers and roller, and ice skating rinks. 

In addition, Governor Lee has encouraged businesses to follow the “spirit” of the guidelines and orders. Nashville has specifically banned live music until Phase 3.

We are telling folks: don’t play games with the rules. Serving food and drink in accordance with Tennessee Pledge is fine. Other than playing the stereo and TVs, resist the temptation to allow your patrons to do anything else.

Does anyone really want another lock down?

Who is wearing out Brad Paisley’s new single?

'Cause we're all in this together

To me, it's all so clear

Drinkin' oughta be a team effort

There is no "I" in beer

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