Memphis businesses get creative after mayor orders more closures due to coronavirus

Memphis businesses get creative after mayor orders more closures due to coronavirus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced Saturday that more businesses have been added to the list of those required to close amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In several years of business, the Loflin Yard bar and restaurant has never sold alcohol like this. They also have never had toilet paper, napkins or soap on their menu.

“A lot of things that we had kind of sitting in inventory that we didn’t need right now because we’re shut down,” said Taylor Berger, Loflin Yard co-owner.

Loflin Yard turned into a makeshift market Saturday, which brought in customers near and far.

“I live out in Tipton County so it’s really hard to find things out there right now with the toilet paper and everything. It’s like a zombie apocalypse going on,” said Jennifer Carpenter, Tipton County resident.

Alcohol to be enjoyed off site was a major part of the modest selection.

Saturday, The Memphis Alcohol Commission voted to change their regulations, allowing restaurants and bars to sell their inventory of beer, wine and even seltzers for delivery or take out.

“I mean, it’s clear that our leaders are doing the best they can and they’re moving as fast as they can. I mean, to have a beer board meeting or talk, even on a Saturday, and get something pushed out that afternoon is pretty impressive I think,” said Berger.

“Everybody’s been stressed. They needed a little enjoyment for their time being stuck in the house,” said Carpenter.

Not every business has been able to stay open.

“Rec Room is going to sit here for a second,” said Miles Kovarik, Rec Room media coordinator.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland added arcades to a growing list of businesses forced to close Saturday at midnight.

Rec Room has already kept the games off since Tuesday anyway, and has had to let some employees go.

The ownership group behind both Rec Room and Loflin Yard has started Two Broke Bartenders and a Truck, a service where restaurant employees who lost work can do odd jobs for some income.

“All of them have a job come end of spring when this blows over hopefully,” said Kovarik.

Local businesses are doing their best to keep as many people employed as possible. Trying something new and getting creative, when they can, as more businesses are being forced to close or make major changes.

“The community is really supporting all the great ideas, so it’s kind of a beautiful thing in a dark time,” said Berger.

“Surreal really captures it in my opinion. It feels like every Netflix film that you didn’t ever want to be a part of,” said Kovarik.

To see a full list of new closures by Mayor Strickland, click here.

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