Memphis officials working on creative ways to help struggling businesses

Watch: Memphis officials working on creative ways to help struggling businesses

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis was thinking of creative ways to help businesses struggling during COVID-19.

Officials were looking at how restaurants can expand seating outside.

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The idea was to have tables on the sidewalks and parking lots.

The owner of Rizzo’s, Michael Patrick. said he would like to put it in a parking lot by the fire station because it’s never used.

“We’ll make it through this but it’s not anything nice right now for sure,” said Patrick.

Patrick, like all the other restaurants, was only allowed to have 50 percent capacity inside which isn’t ideal.

“Maybe 40 to 47 percent of normal sales,” Patrick said.

That wasn’t very good but he has some hope since officials might allow restaurants to expand seating to sidewalks or parking lots.

“We can close of a couple parking spaces in the front, put a couple little of cones up and put one two three tables right there,” Patrick said.

Other cities like Knoxville started this on Monday.

The Shelby County Health Department supported this idea but said there is only one problem.

“Assuring there is access to sufficient bathrooms and handwashing space,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Director.

Patrick said this will really help his business especially this time of year.

“You drive by any patio this time of year and it’s the place to be,” he said.

Officials were still working out the details.

In Knoxville, the restaurants applied for a permit which is $100, then they could expand seating to sidewalks and parking lots.