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Shelby County businesses can now decide mask policy

Businesses react to first day under new Shelby County health directive
Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 9:25 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County business owners now have the choice to require masks thanks to Shelby County’s newest health directive.

Memphis’ oldest restaurant, The Arcade Restaurant does not plan to do away with all restrictions just yet.

“But that said, we understand that we’re on the tail end of this now. We’re glad that people are getting vaccinated. That all said, not everybody out there is vaccinated. So as a staff, we’re going to still continue where mass,” said Jeffrey Zepatos, Partner of The Arcade Restaurant.

Next door, South Main Nutrition has been open for just one week. The tea and smoothie shop is taking a slightly different approach.

“Right now, we’re letting the employees decide if they want to wear a mask or not, and customers decide if they want to wear a mask or not. But, if someone comes in and says, “I would feel better if you put a mask on,” we will put on masks,” said Amilia Smith, an employee of South Main Nutrition.

Both establishments on South Main are happy with the direction Shelby County is going when it comes to pandemic related restrictions.

“I look at this as an opportunity for us to expand our bubbles versus completely burst them at the moment,” said Zepatos.

“We can finally be able to see people’s smiles and their faces being able to try our drinks and shakes. I think it’s a good thing,” said Smith.

As for how customers feel about the changes?

Arcade Restaurant Customer Austin Miller says, “If you want to wear a mask to feel safe, wear a mask. If you don’t, we outside again! Let’s go! Let’s go!”

There are some places where people will still be required to wear masks, including mass transit like buses, trains and people who work in the health industry.

Masks are recommended for those who have not been fully vaccinated.

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