MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - When you add the NCAA tournament to loosening COVID-19 restrictions, it could add up to a very lucrative weekend for local restaurant owners.
“We are very excited,” said Neal Shelton, General Manager at the Brookhaven Pub and Grill in East Memphis.
“We’re bringing back live music back to the patio in April,” said Shelton.
He says business has already started to pick back up and it’s looking better with the new health directive that goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. Saturday.
It includes increasing the number of people seated at one table from 6 to 8, but all must be from the same family unit.
Businesses can stay open an hour longer until 1 am and the two hour limit for food service has still been lifted.
The health department is still requiring people to wear masks with the exception of people who are actively dining or people who medically can not wear one.
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Health leaders say customers shouldn’t get too comfortable.
“But we also have to be careful not to be that guy on the team that sort of spikes the ball before he crosses the goal line,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld.
Threlkeld says Shelby county residents are in a much better place than we were last year.
Shelby County has vaccinated a large portion of its vulnerable population, but we’re not quite out of the woods.
Threlkeld says, “That 1C Group that we’re working on now could still cause us tens of thousands of death if don’t protect them as we go, so we still want to be careful about not being responsible.”
It’s a balancing act that will be put to the test this weekend.