Cover Charge To Get on Beale St. Strongly Considered
(Memphis) – The Beale St. Merchants Association (BSMA) is strongly considering whether or not to charge a cover to get on to Beale St. on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s an attempt to fix the loitering problem the plagues the famous street and its businesses.
Thousands hanging out on Beale is a public safety concern according to the President of the BSMA. He says loitering hurts businesses. The cover charge will essentially make people commit to buying something, weeding out those who don’t.
“Well as a tourist I wouldn’t exactly like that because there are a lot of other places in other cities that don’t charge anything for going to a bar and restaurants,” said Brenda Halastandis, who is in town from St. Louis, MO.
Here’s how it would work: You pay $10.00 to get on Beale. You get $9.00 back in the form of a Beale Bucks voucher. It could then be used at any business on Beale just like cash. That other dollar would go to covering the cost of the program.
“[It’s] like you paying a dollar to get in,” said Rodney Lewis. “So you can use the money anywhere you want to and it’s still not so bad.”
Halastandis urges city leaders to plan carefully. She says large crowds are not necessarily a bad thing.
“I think the crowds are what attract other people and tourists so you might want to think about that if you want to continue to attract tourists,” she said.
The cover charge idea has been kicked around for a while, but it’s now moving forward. Memphis Mayor A.C Wharton challenged the BSMA to find a way to fix loitering, where Beale Street, its’ merchants, and the people who enjoy it, can all win.
The BSMA says the cover charge will not likely go into effect this year.