Business owners worry health department could add more restrictions if COVID-19 cases start to rise

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Business owners are worried the health department could add more restrictions if COVID-19 cases start to rise.

However, the Shelby County Health Department data shows a slight decrease in active cases.

“Deep down, you just want it to go away, but at the same time, safety is still paramount,” said Michael Patrick with Rizzos.

Patrick is used to the roller coaster ride of restrictions from getting shut down, capacity limits, and mask requirements. He said he will be fine if the health department adds capacity restrictions in its next directive.

Still, he’s worried about public perception.

“When you come in the door automatically pissed off or upset that you have to put on a mask for 30 seconds, it can sometimes sour the dining experience,” said Patrick.

Nick Scott, the owner of Alchemy, agrees.

“It still does impact us from a sales standpoint,” said Scott.

Both Patrick and Scott believe it’s best to follow safety guidelines.

Right now, possible restrictions like capacity limitations and mask requirements outdoors are only being considered.

Monday, Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said it depends on data like the 7-day rolling average.

Right now, it’s 620, which is 215 cases fewer than Monday and 249 cases away from the record in December.

Active cases are also down at about 6,300. That’s 800 fewer cases than last week.

While this is good news, both business owners worry if cases begin to spike again.

“We are going to do everything we can to try and curb the spread of the virus and do everything we can to keep our employees healthy,” said Scott.

Again, no changes have been made to the health directive. That will be decided when it expires at the end of the month.