MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the heat surging this week, many of us don't want to be outside long, but you don't have much of a choice if you're dealing with the long lines to get your license plates and tags renewed in Shelby County.
Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert is trying to make the wait more bearable with new solutions for already frustrated customers.
"This is a serious problem. Older people, people who are infirmed, are being forced to wait outside in the Memphis heat," Shelby County Clerk's Office customer Dave Weigel said.
The issue is especially personal for Weigel, who is assisted by a walker. He sent ABC24 recent pictures showing lines in the heat, some without shelter, at different Shelby County Clerk's Office locations.
"I think it needs to be a number one priority," Weigel added.
On his fourth stop, Weigel said he arrived at the Austin Peay location 45 minutes before opening and was sixth in line.
"I'm not in the greatest shape, but I handled it," he said. "I know a lot of people who couldn't handle being outside when it's above 90 for very long."
"The customers are not properly being served and we are not able to control what they are experiencing because someone else is making those decisions," Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert said.
Halbert said according to county code, her staff can only let five to 10 people in at a time. Her staff recently took down people's phone numbers when they arrived, to call them back in line so they can cool off elsewhere in between if they choose.
"Right now, that's our only option until we get the resources we need. We can just set the appointments, call them in and let them get their services and go home," Halbert added.
But Weigel argued more must be done to offer more relief.
"Not enough at all, they need some shelter, not people's cars," Weigel said.
Halbert said a real estate agent is also scouting larger indoor locations to replace the existing ones, but that can only happen if the Shelby County Commission approves the money.
"We are running into brick wall after brick wall just trying to fix it and remedy the problem," Halbert added.
Another way the clerk hopes to cut down on lines is the planned opening of a new location in the Riverdale/Winchester area. That opening is delayed because of supply chain issues.