Beale Street businesses face uncertainty following COVID-19 spike

WATCH: Beale Street businesses face uncertainty following COVID-19 spike

MEMPHIS,Tenn. — Business owners are worried that caution tape and barriers blocking the middle of Beale Street will scare customers off.

Still, business owners are happy that bars are allowed to be open even though other states like Texas and Florida have shut them down to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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They see the tape and the barriers up and say “oh something bad must have happened”.

Leo Allred, the owner of Tater Reds souvenir shop said Beale Street almost looks closed as barriers block the middle of the street and line the sidewalk.

He said having live music back on Beale Street has helped his business, but now he’s worried that the caution tape and barriers in the middle of Beale street will scare customers away.

He’s worried this will close down his store for good.

“I hope I get to stay till 90 or 100 or something that would be cool,” said Allred.

Unfortunately, that dream might not happen because every since COVID-19, his business has been struggling.

He told FOX13 things started to get better when the city decided to allow live music on June 12th, but now he’s worried.

He’s so worried that everything in his store is 50 percent off to keep things running.

“This is a place where everyone can come have a good time and I feel like with this its hindering people from coming,” said Allred.

A spokesperson with the Downtown Memphis Commission told FOX13 the decision was made with the Memphis police department to encourage social distancing.

The goal is to prevent people from gathering in the middle of the street.

“By putting these up you are putting a big crowd here and putting a crowd in the center and a crowd on the other side,” said Allred.

It doesn’t make sense to Allred, but he’s hoping for the best and plans to do anything to keep his store open.

“It’s working out for us so far but if it doesn’t it may be the end for us,” he said.

Beale Street is now open until 1 in the morning.

There are still social distancing guidelines in place and bars are only allowed to sell drinks to go if they are in sealed containers.