Mayor Strickland limiting road access to parks, closing Riverside Drive beginning Tuesday

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Effective at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Mayor Jim Strickland is limiting access to all city owned parks.

Riverside Drive will close, and the mayor will close as many roads in and near city parks as the fire marshal will allow. City employees will be stationed at the parks to monitor compliance.

The order stopped short of closing parks outright. People will still be able to take a walk or run through parks with people in their own household.

But Strickland said the tighter regulations will help prevent people from congregating in large groups. That will prevent situations like many news outlets reported last week, when large groups were seen in Tom Lee Park and other parks.

“It does become a huge problem when people disregard the importance of social distancing,” he said, calling the groups “selfish and reckless.”

The Memphis River Parks Partnership said that Tom Lee Park is still open even though Riverside Drive access is closed and large groups are discouraged.

Strickland said some people are not taking the orders to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

“For the health of our city, they must start now,” Strickland said.

To report violations of the mayor’s Safer At Home order, call 311.

One person in Shelby County has died due to COVID-19 complications, health officials have said.

“You need to take this seriously. Because if you don’t more people will die needlessly,” Strickland said. “By staying home, you will save lives.”

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