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Musicians struggling to find work under new guidelines from the health department

Musicians are out of work again as many bars and restaurants will need to close.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There have been a few nights a week you can catch a live band playing at a local restaurant or bar, but not nearly as often as it used to be. Under new guidelines from the Shelby County Health Department, bars with certain types of liquor licenses must close again. 

The many musicians who play at these restaurants and bars will again be out of work. Musician Darryl Sanford said Memphis isn't the great city it is without its musicians. 

"You’re talking about something I do four or five nights per week, and now I’m not able to," Sanford said.

Sanford's last official gig was back in March. The empty stages are a reminder of the days before the pandemic silenced them. With the time we're in now, Sanford said music can be the cure for these blues. 

"We’re able to make those people's minds off of everything they have going on and make them happy and smiling and dancing," Sanford said. 

Music is Sanford's life and livelihood, so this time has been exceptionally difficult. He is one of the many musicians trying to stay afloat and maintain any gigs they can get. 

"When things started opening back up we were able to go back in and make a little money," Sanford said. "With the shutdown, you’re talking about livelihoods hanging in limbo." 

So, if you're missing the beat, Sanford hopes it will be soon when they're back.

"My main thing is to take this whole situation seriously, go on ahead and sit inside the house so we can get back out and work," Sanford said. 

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