JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Friday marked a year since Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ordering Tennesseans to stay home unless they are fulfilling “essential activities.”
Downtown Johnson City experienced a loss of a handful of local businesses following the restrictions.
We spoke with two area businesses who provided an update a year into the state’s emergency, and both expressed hope in the upcoming months.
“Given the pandemic, restaurants can be kind of a dangerous place for that kind of thing so it was really important to them – safety first and to do the right thing no matter what the cost,” said Derek Collins the general manager of Mid City Grill. “We don’t have the late night business, we haven’t had the late night open so we felt it’s still been better to keep that kind of at bay for the time being.”
The owner of the Johnson City Brewing Company, Eric Latham, said that he trusts that relief is right around the corner.
“The way we were able to adapt and to do online sales saved our business… period,” said Latham. “This may be a permanent adaptation. We may be able to keep that part of our business and grow, create jobs and create further tax revenue and that’s great for everybody.”
One year later – a sense of gratitude among the survivors and hope for a better year to come.