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Memphis carwashes make up majority of lockdown business citations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — According to www.wreg.com, carwashes were among the businesses most frequently cited for refusing to comply with Mayor Jim Strickland’s business closure orders during the coronavirus crisis.

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Between March 31st to April 26th, the city checked 76 businesses for reportedly violating the shelter-in-place order; almost 50% of those were carwashes.

“The issue with the carwashes primarily was large numbers of people not social distancing,” said Dr. Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department. “That’s the main reason they were supposed to close.”
Although the city said most carwash owners complied with the orders, a dozen continued to operate, and Code Enforcement was forced to shut them down, the article added.

According to tax records, many of the carwashes belonged to LLCs or out-of-state people, but some were locally owned, and by the same people at that, the article stated.

An employee for George Little, the owner for one of those carwashes, said that employees “had no prior knowledge that the carwash was supposed to shut down. No notification at all.”

She also said that no one with the city could tell the employees when the notice was sent out, the article added.

Another carwash owner said that no one had communicated with him back in April, but he complied after Code Enforcement placed “Do not occupy” placards around his facility, the article noted.

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However, he felt carwashes should have always been able to operate, since the bays are more than 6 feet apart, the article stated.

According to Jennifer Sink, the city’s chief legal officer, fully automated carwashes have been allowed to operate since April 21st, but self-serve and full service carwashes are not allowed to be open, the article added.  

“The city is enforcing this restriction, but we are working with the owners of those establishments to keep them in compliance. Any business that is not in compliance with the mayor’s order, the governor’s order or the Health Department directive, including carwashes, is subject to a misdemeanor citation, which includes fines against the owner,” Sink said.

Some businesses can submit plans to reopen, which will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the back to business subcommittee, the article concluded.

Read the original story here.

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