Downtown safety plan for Memorial Day weekend

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memorial Day weekend is coming to an end but the celebration is still in full force in downtown Memphis.

 This past weekend was the busiest Beale Street has been in at least 16 months, but it wasn’t without incident. Still, officials and patrons consider it a success.

While the numbers aren’t official, the Downtown Memphis Commission believes tens of thousands of visitors made their way to Beale Street over the weekend. Whether it was Memorial Day weekend, a Grizzlies playoff game or just being outside post-COVID restrictions, the city felt alive.

“It’s energized and we’re glad to be out. COVID is almost over and everybody is basically happy that everything is going back to normal,” said Brandon Alexander, a Grizzlies Fan.

“It’s exciting, it’s anxious, it’s all of that. I think some people are kind of still nervous, but for the most part people just seem to be vibing and having a good time,”  said Amelia Shields, who’s visiting Memphis.

Unfortunately, the weekend wasn’t without incident. Police say someone was shot at BB King and Peabody Place early Monday morning and was taken to the hospital.

Right now, we don’t know who fired the shots, or why.

 While everyone we talked with is aware of some of the violence downtown Memphis has been dealing with, they said they noticed and appreciated a larger law enforcement presence which made them feel more secure than weeks past.

“It’s a lot of security out. Police are most definitely making sure everything is calm out here. To me, everyone is having a good time and feels safe out here,” Alexander said.

“I didn’t see anything getting out of hand and I do think it’s because there are so many officers out here making us feel safe,” Shields said.

Memphis Tourism says it will be at least a couple of weeks before the city knows exactly how many patrons flooded the downtown area, but if Memorial Day weekend was a sign of things to come, it could be a great summer for business in Bluff City.

Right now, it’s unclear whether the City of Memphis and MPD will continue to charge for entry onto Beale Street

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