Memphis businesses face uncertain future amid coronavirus outbreak

Mid-South businesses rattled by stay-at-home orders

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Mayor Jim Strickland’s safer-at-home order means businesses that are considered non-essential must close for at least the next two weeks.

With the number of COVID-19 cases in Memphis and Shelby County rising, some business owners say they were expecting the mayor’s order.

On Tuesday, customers at the LaVogue Hair Salon in midtown were getting in last-minute hair appointments before the salon closes.

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The owner, Adrienne Williams, says she understands why the mayor had to issue the order.

While she says she thinks she will be fine, because she has saved up enough money, she worries about fellow hairstylists and others who suddenly find themselves without a job.

“I mean because if we don’t work, we don’t make money,” said Williams. “I mean we’re self-employed, so I mean it affects us totally.”

Under Strickland’s order, businesses that are considered non-essential must close until April 7. This includes hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, day spas, shopping malls, among many other businesses.

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Shelby County, as well as the municipalities, are also issuing safer-at-home orders that mirror the one issued by the City of Memphis.

The Greater Memphis Chamber says they’ve been speaking to businesses every day. They say based on their surveys approximately 20% of businesses have laid off at least one employee in the last week.

Greater Memphis Chamber president and CEO, Beverly Robertson, says while this is unchartered terrain, she’s confident Memphis will get through it.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got a lot of smart people in Memphis, Tennessee, and I trust and believe that government is accessing the brilliance of those in the marketplace to help put together a plan related to how we recover, to how we bring back jobs,” said Robertson.

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Robertson says there are companies who are hiring in Memphis amid the coronavirus outbreak, including FedEx Logistics, Amazon and Kroger, as well as several smaller companies.

She says those companies will train people, so applicants shouldn’t worry about whether they have the right skills.

The chamber has a list of businesses that are hiring on the chamber’s special coronavirus business resources page. For more information visit

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