Mid-Southerners celebrate Fourth of July despite COVID-19 cancellations

Mid-Southerners celebrate Fourth of July despite COVID-19 cancellations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The pandemic has made celebrating the Fourth of July a little less exciting for some folks this year.

Downtown Memphis is livelier now than it was a few months ago.

But for a holiday weekend, it’s nowhere near as bustling as years past -- largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nate Illsley is the man in charge are greeting people in front of B.B. King's Blues Club.

“Millions of people are out of work. Half the businesses on the street are still closed down,” said Nate Illsey, restaurant employee.

The fact that there's no firework show this year doesn't help matters.

“It’s sad because this should be one of the busiest weekends on Beale Street, and it’s like a Saturday in January,” said Illsey.

The fireworks show along the riverfront is something Mid-Southerners look forward to every year.

But the pandemic has put a halt to events that would bring large crowds.

The canceled fireworks show is unfortunate for Mike and Peggy Troha from Olive Branch, who hoped to show their kids who are visiting from Chicago.

“Very disappointed because I honestly think there would’ve been some way to still have it and maybe at least put it on TV. So that’s one major disappointment to have no fireworks because it’s so pretty over the River,” said Mike and Peggy Troha, Olive Branch residents.

While this year's fourth isn't the norm, not everyone is disappointed. Dornay Taylor from St. Louis still had a good time on Beale Street.

“I think it’s dope so far, you know. We’re going to make it feel like the Fourth of July today,” said Dornay Taylor, Fourth of July tourist.

Even with lots of Fourth of July events canceled this year because of the pandemic, the Shelby County Health Department still expects to see a surge in the number of positive COVID-19 cases after this weekend.

In addition to mandatory mask wearing, the health department expects to discuss more restrictions next week when it come to restaurants and bars.

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