Strickland declares civil emergency; bars, gyms closed, restaurants to offer take-out, delivery

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland declared a civil state of emergency Thursday.

The order, announced Thursday afternoon, orders all bars and gyms to close, and all local restaurants to perform take-out or delivery orders only amid the rise of confirmed coronavirus cases in the county.

Maureen Dobbs and her friend found out about the new measures will eating at Babalu in Midtown Thursday. They savored the meal a little more knowing it would be the last time they would be able to eat out for a while.

“It’s (COVID-19) progressed more quickly than I thought because two weeks ago like everything was fine and all the restaurants were packed. The streets were full and now, it’s like nobody’s out. So, it’s kind of like being in a Twilight Zone and it’s really weird,” Dobbs said.

Strickland said we are experiencing “community transmission” of the coronavirus for the first time in Memphis. “Community transmission” means the virus is no longer only being transmitted from someone who has traveled outside the city.

Strickland said the city will be providing on-street parking relief exclusively for food delivery vehicles at various Downtown and Midtown restaurants.

Strickland is also asking churches to either postpone their worship services or stream them online.

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