Memphis businesses see surge in customers before closings due to safer-at-home order

Non-essential Mid-South businesses closing, crowds still gather at grocery stores, restaurants

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -The safer-at-home order is now in effect across Shelby County shutting down non-essential businesses and stores, and asking people to stay at home whenever possible.

We found Mid-Southerners packed in lines just hours before the order started.

“There’s no more pizza. See these beautiful people over here. They’re waiting for pizza I and they have no more," said Arielle Mitchell of Cici’s Pizza.

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Numbers of people were waiting in line in East Memphis for free Pizza at Cici’s. All of the Cici’s locations in Memphis are doing this. But here’s the problem, social distancing isn’t happening.

Most of these people are really not 6 feet apart -- a recommendation to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

“They not doing what they supposed to do," said Memphian Candace Ryan. “I’m doing the right thing that’s all I’m worried about is me.”

George Glinsky, who owns this Cici's, has been trying to keep the people separated.

" We’re going to do something different," said Glinsky. “We’re trying to help people out. The free thing has gotten a little bit too crazy and we can’t have this many people. Social distances no rules are tough to enforce.”

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He says he gave out 500 free pizzas Monday and1,000 pizza’s out Tuesday. He ran out around 3 in the afternoon.

“I think they should’ve did it for people from their cars. That way the pizza people could get out one by one," said Ryan.

Cici’s and Kroger were pretty much the only things happening in Poplar Plaza. Kroger’s parking lot was packed.

But a look at the other businesses, one right after the other closed with signs saying temporarily closed or closed until further notice.

The restaurants, for the most part, are take out only.

Going east on Poplar at Laurelwood shopping center the same thing -- signs on businesses saying they’re closed.

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