MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Almost all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in Shelby County are being lifted by the health department starting Saturday.
The Shelby County Health Department reports more than 70% of adults in the county have some immunity, either because they are vaccinated or have had the virus and recovered.
Health Directive 22 will still require masks on public transportation, in government buildings, and in some Shelby County courtrooms.
Masks are still recommended for people who have not been vaccinated.
For many small businesses, this is the light at the end of the tunnel. Elwood's Shack owner Tim Bednarski said it's a weight lifted off his shoulders.
"Gigantic relief," Bednarski said. "It’s been a struggle to say the least for the last 18 months or however long it’s been."
Bednarski says it feels like it's back to normal. Before this, his business struggled, but the community helped him through it.
"It pays back," Bednarski said. "It always does."
His restaurant was able to feed frontline workers during the worst months of the pandemic through generous customer donations. Bednarski is grateful he was able to help others while maintaining his livelihood.
"It was a God sent. We needed it," Bednarski said. "We were so under water at one particular point and then we got a massive wave of relief from it."
Through the ups and downs of the pandemic, Bednarski is thankful to have gotten through this.
"We took it on the chin in the beginning, but we fought hard and struggled through it," Bednarski said.