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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Restaurant and hospitality workers who’ve been laid off or had their hours reduced because of Covid restrictions may be eligible for grants of up to $1,000.  

Shelby County Commission voted 8-5 Monday to approve a measure giving $2.5 million to the Memphis Urban League to set up a relief fund.  

“We all are working together to make sure that we are making a difference and we are sensitive to the needs of the constituents,” said Commissioner Willie Brooks Jr.  

Commissioners were unable to answer questions about when the money would be available to workers and the Memphis Urban League did not return WREG’s requests for information. 

Under the terms of the fund, there would be enough money for up to 2,500 people. 

“We want to do more but we have to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers as well,” Brooks said.  

Concerns about the budget dominated the hour-long debate over the measure.  

“This is a situation where the government caused the problem by shutting down the restaurants,” said Commissioner Amber Mills who expressed concern about how the county will pay for the relief fund.  

“That will ultimately lead to a fee or a tax or a property tax increase,” she said.