Mayor Harris announces $2.5M economic relief plan to help Shelby Co. restaurants

Mayor Lee Harris announced $2.5 million economic relief plan

SHELBY CO., Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announced Wednesday a $2.5 million economic relief plan to help local restaurant workers.

“The ball is in our court and action has to happen among those of us who are in this room virtually speaking,” said Harris.

During a Shelby County Commission Committee hearing, the Harris team introduced “Share the Tab II” -- a plan which would offer a $1,000 relief benefit for restaurant workers financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related | Memphis chef asks MLGW to provide financial relief for struggling restaurants

Restaurants asking MLGW for help

The relief package comes from the county’s reserve fund which concerns some county commissioners.

“It looks great that we’re trying to help, but I think the best thing we can do to help is at least let restaurants open at 50%,” said Commissioner Mark Billingsly.

This comes as the Shelby County Health Department limited local restaurants to 25% capacity in its latest health directive.

Something many restaurant owners aren’t happy about.

Local restaurants feel they've been left out of coronavirus relief

Still, Harris believes this is a step in the right direction.

“$2.5 is not enough, $50 million is not enough,” he said.

The committee vote which included all but two commissioners had six yes votes with three voting no and two abstaining.

The fund would be administered through the Memphis Urban League if approved by the commission at the upcoming session, Monday.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.