MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s going to be a rough winter.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said these are the COVID-19 pandemic’s darkest days.
People are dying. Restaurants and small businesses are closing.
Thousands of workers will lose their jobs.
A ruling from the health department takes effect the day after Christmas.
“I don’t 100% agree with everything in the ruling,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “But overall, something had to be done.”
He hopes things will start to get better in June. That’s seven months from now.
A lot of restaurants won’t survive that long. Strickland knows that.
“This isn’t the first time restaurants have been hurting,” he said. “They’ve been hurting, really, since March and April. We’ve given out between $11 and $12 million in grants and low interest loans. And some of that was targeted to restaurants and employees. We are looking at how we can continue that.”
The city isn’t doing too well either.
Mayor Strickland said, “Sales taxes downtown, which fund our tourism development zones - which is how we pay for the Pyramid and Tom Lee Park, those are down. Sales taxes downtown are down because so many people are working remotely. The restaurants are struggling.”
And it will only get worse for at least the next month.
A look at COVID-19 numbers in Memphis and Shelby County for December 23rd