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Ordinance to Ban Beer in Memphis Strip Clubs to Take Effect Next Week

Memphis- Late Wednesday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Bernice Donald denied a request by club owners for a preliminary injunction to block enforcement until the lawsuit is decided.

Donald wrote in the 28-page decision that the club owners failed a key legal test for such an injunction.

“Plaintiffs have not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” she wrote. “Further, Shelby County would suffer greater harm if it were not able to enforce the act. Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate irreparable harm and finally the public interest is served by minimizing the adverse secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses.”

The ordinance was approved last year by the Shelby County Commission based on a state law. Because the Memphis City Council has not approved its own ordinance, the county ordinance applies to Memphis – which is where all of the county’s strip clubs are located – until or unless the City Council approves a proposed ordinance being pushed by the Herenton administration.

The county ordinance took effect with the new year, but it allows a 120-day grace period for local government to set up the system of permits and criminal background checks that all employees and owners must undergo in order to work at or operate strip clubs or adult bookstores. The 120-day grace period ends April 30.

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