by: Quametra Wilborn
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Restaurants and bars in Shelby County will officially shutdown on Saturday night after an executive order from County Mayor Lee Harris.
Harris says this approach encourages social distancing and slows down the spread of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
Beale Street is one of the places where bars have closed their doors with people saying it feels like a ghost town.
Wes Edmonds used to be the Head Audio Engineer at B.B. Kings.
With the mandated order to close all restaurants and bars, he is now looking for another job.
“Nobody has any work,” Edmonds said. “Nobody has any money. The flow of money has just completely stopped.”
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland expanded the mandate, for the city, to close businesses like bowling alleys and skating rinks.
Edmonds says he understands the circumstances but its been difficult to find work.
“Everybody’s been really supportive and positive by at the end of day, it’s not a lot happening,” Edmonds said.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris says he spoke to all municipal mayors about the executive order to close all restaurants, bars and fitness centers in the county.
“Everybody agreed that it would not be enough for us to have restaurants shut down in the city of Memphis and then have that restaurant population migrate to Germantown or Collierville,” Harris said.
Local leaders say these orders do not apply to businesses with drive-thru or ones that offer take out.
Flying Saucer’s Key Manager Brett Bullard says they are just trying to make the best out of what is now the new downtown nightlife.
“Going into downtown, it’s a little more eerie than usual on a sunny Saturday afternoon,” Bullard said. “You usually have a lot of people walking around down here, in and out of the bars. So, it is a whole different vibe down here.”