MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Local businesses are starting to get creative to keep workers on the job with major industries like hospitality and entertainment all but shut down.
The coronavirus has shut down indoor dining so restaurants in Overton Square and over in Cooper-Young at Railgarten are getting creative to bring jobs back and serve some food Mid-Southerners love like crawfish.
“After sitting on the couch for a couple weeks, you start to rack your brain trying to get yourself back to work and get other people to work," said Railgarten General Manager Jeremy Malone.
Malone decided to open up a food truck in front of the temporarily closed business in Cooper-Young but first, he had to check if his suppliers were still operating and luckily they were. His laid off staff now have jobs serving drinks, sandwiches and of course crawfish.
It is crawfish time and a lot of businesses especially in Overton Square are also selling crawfish. All outside, no indoor dining. Malone says it is a day to day process that seems to change frequently.
“Something we’re all figuring out day to day, week to week, just trying to be there for your staff, co-workers, family it’s a lot," he said.
Railgarten, like other businesses, is also catering for groups. Railgarten served volunteers at Idlewild Presbyterian Church who earlier this week were handing out food staples for the Mid-South Food Bank. The associate pastor says everyone is pulling together.
“They’re looking for a way to serve at this time. We sit in the pews every Sunday and we talk about Jesus and how he was a friend especially to those at the margins and a need so they have answered the call," said Sara Dorrien, Christians Associate Pastor.
April is crawfish month in Memphis but planned festivals in Overton Square and downtown are canceled because of the coronavirus. It is a time like no other in recent history.
“The toughest thing I’ve had to do deal with as a restaurant manager," said Malone. "I’ve dealt with everything from fires, floods and everything else and there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself.”
Malone is hoping restaurants can re-open June 1. But at this point, it’s anybody’s guess.