Bars reopen in Shelby County


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County residents were able to drink at bars again Wednesday. Health officials say they are allowing bars to reopen because the infection curve is starting to flatten. Customers at The Silly Goose on Peabody Place were thrilled to be in a bar again.

“Nice to sit down, come back to a bar that you’re familiar with,” Alexis Sullivan said.

“Yeah, to actually be out and sit down and have a drink,” Laquita Sampley said.

Silly Goose General Manager Halsey Werlein is glad to have customers back in the building after months of being shut down and relegated to curbside service. 

“Our revenue is probably a tenth of what it was,” Werlein said.

It’s also not the same experience as it once was. In addition to mask requirements and social distancing, health officials say customers can only sit at tables, all alcohol has to be served with food and the businesses have to close by ten every night.

“We’re putting all the security measures in place trying to make sure everybody’s safe,” Werlein said.

Werlein says it will take a long time for the bar to climb out of the financial hole it’s in.

“We’re fighting for our lives now,” he said.

There could be more fights to come. Some elected officials, like County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, are disappointed with the health department and wonder if it’s safe for bars to be open. Customers WREG talked with think it’s fine as long as people follow the rules.

“You can’t protect people from themselves,” Sullivan said, “We’re all adults.”

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