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MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Some restaurants across Memphis are making changes and facing challenges in light of the surge in coronavirus cases across the city.

Empty tables and chairs have become a common sight that Westy’s owner Jake Shorr has learned to accept over the last two years.

“It’s been excruciating, challenging and awakening on how nice it (was) before the pandemic,” he said.

With at least 31 cases of the Omicron variant in Shelby County, Schorr said they will be taking extra precautions to keep customers and staff safe.

“Certainly have their mask and certainly sanitation on the front end. Even to this minute we still sanitize every single thing that a consumer could touch and then that we touch,” he said.

An average of 341 people are testing positive for COVID-19 daily in the county, it’s the most since September and a cause for concern for many Memphis residents like Jodie Duncan.

“We talk about vaccines, boosters, all those things. And so again, it’s just doing our part to help our neighbor and so making sure that we’re healthy and that we’re keeping our neighbors healthy,” Duncan said. “We have to do our part and help them stay open.”

Throughout the pandemic, Schorr said they have had a handful of employees test positive for the virus, which is why he now highly recommends all employees get vaccinated.

“I push it here, and I think some of the employees get tired or listen to me but I keep saying it. Everywhere testing on a routine basis or vaccination is certainly important. This common sense,” Schorr said.

As of now, the health department has not issued any mandates for local businesses as result of the spike in cases.