Business owners prep for the worst as Delta variant causes spike in cases

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some business owners are preparing for the worst as the Delta variant causes a spike in cases and hospitalizations in the Memphis-Shelby County area.

Right now, there is no word on new restrictions but the health department is currently evaluating the CDC’s new guidelines recommending masks indoors.

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”We hope we don’t get shut down again, but we are prepared for that at this point after being shut down so many times,” said Nick Scott, the owner of Alchemy.

Scott was preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. He owns Alchemy in Cooper-Young and encouraged his employees to mask up even if they are vaccinated.

Scott also planned on limiting seating and social distancing during big events like Cooper-Young Fest in September.

”I think for the most part everyone is so ready and willing to get back out and be normal again,” said Scott. ”I started discussions with management about requiring employees to wear masks if they are in close contact.”

On South Main, the owner of Rizzo’s, Michael Patrick, said he was keeping his restaurant at 50 percent capacity.

He was extra cautious because of the Delta variant.

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Patrick is also a little worried about the possibility of future business restrictions.

”If we return to lesser seating or masks then we just roll with the punches like we have been doing the last year and a half,” said Patrick.

FOX13 reached out to the health department and asked if they are considering a mask mandate or business restrictions.

In a statement, the Interim Health Director said she is evaluating the CDC guidelines and encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Patrick said whatever happens, he will adjust and has faith his business will survive.

”When we were all walking through this year in June and July, we were kinda feeling our way through it, trying to make it work, we now know it can work,” said Patrick.

Last Tuesday, before Dr. Michelle Taylor was officially appointed as health director, she said she supported masking in public places.

We expect to hear more updates at the COVID-19 task force meeting at noon on Tuesday.