Two Memphis bars to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test for entry

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Two Midtown Memphis bars have announced they will soon require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter.

DRUS Place on Madison and the Pumping Station on Poplar both made their announcements on Facebook Wednesday.

“After a great deal of thought and input from the community, we feel this decision will provide the best protection for everyone who enters the bar,” DRUS Place said in its announcement.

Both bars say the requirement will go into effect August 12. DRUS Place says unvaccinated customers can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their arrival.

“It doesn’t eliminate the risk, it’s playing odds,” DRUS Place owner Tami Montgomery said. “If you’ve got a room full of vaccinated people the chances of someone getting COVID with a room full of vaccinated people is very, very low.”

Neither bar is requiring masks, but both say they strongly encourage customers to mask up.

The Pumping Station, like DRUS, says they’ve gotten some blowback on social media.

“Mostly what I’ve heard is people saying they would never come here and that fits right in with our plan,” owner Robert Taylor said. “If you haven’t been vaccinated, we don’t want you to come here until you’ve been vaccinated. We’re concerned not only with our patrons and employees’ health but everybody else’s health.”

More than 1,000 new COVID cases have been reported in Shelby County in recent days and most are attributed to the fast-spreading Delta variant. Be that as it may, some residents are split on whether bars should require proof of vaccination.

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“I support (the decision) to either take the vaccine (or) not take the vaccine. Do what you do with your body and it’s not mine,” Montgomery said. “We don’t want to exclude anybody. That’s not what this is about. This is about making the best decision we can in a crappy situation.”

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