Memphis Botanic Garden springing back to life

By , Daily Memphian Updated: May 11, 2020 12:21 PM CT | Published: May 07, 2020 4:00 AM CT

Memphis Botanic Garden says it will reopen for members only at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 7, after a coronavirus hiatus of more than six weeks.

The city-owned civic garden at Audubon Park is scheduled to welcome back the public on an admission basis starting Tuesday, May 19.

Memphis and Shelby County to reopen Monday

Executive director Mike Allen said the garden received city and health department permission Wednesday, May 6, after a minor tweaking of a compliance plan submitted Friday.

It was the first announced reopening of a tourist attraction or museum during Phase 1 of the city’s Back to Business plan to gradually bring back businesses with precautions against spreading coronavirus.

The Memphis Zoo and Graceland also have submitted compliance plans. Graceland has said it’s closed through at least May 20, but the zoo hadn’t given a date.

Phase 1 of the Memphis and Shelby County reopening began Monday and initially included dine-in restaurants, libraries and other facilities but not attractions or museums.

City could allow some tourist attractions, museums to open in Phase 1

However, city and health officials are reviewing on a case-by-case basis plans for sites to come back while staying within crowd size, sanitation and social distancing requirements.

The garden, which closed to the public March 23, plans to reopen outdoor areas only at first.

High-touch areas including the Children’s Garden will stay closed for the foreseeable future.

The city asked the garden to take staff members temperatures daily. The garden will provide face masks to employees who have public contact, and guests will be “strongly encouraged” to wear masks, Allen said.

The garden will be closed on Mondays during the reopening period.

A previous version of this story misstated the garden’s policy on face masks. Guests will be strongly encouraged to wear them.

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Memphis Botanic Garden Memphis tourist attractions Memphis Tourism travel and tourism COVID-19 reopening plan
Wayne Risher

Wayne Risher

Business news reporter, 43-year veteran of print journalism, 35-year resident of Memphis, University of Georgia alumnus and proud father and spouse of University of Memphis graduates.


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