Small businesses suffered from the coronavirus pandemic -- specifically due to shutdowns and capacity restrictions -- and then there were the showdowns with customers over wearing masks.
It's probably no surprise the latest CDC recommendations are being welcomed by many business owners.
The folks at Goodonya Organic Eatery in Encinitas would prefer the COVID-19 conversation start with good food and habits that support the immune system, but if you're curious about masks, owner Kris Buchanan has some strong opinions.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
"I am excited for my staff to take their masks off, honestly. It's hard it is really hard. We don't like it,“ Buchanan said.
Unmasking the vaccinated in most places is the right idea at the right time. We've learned a few things in 14 months, Buchanan said.
“They are going to be just fine because we've taken so many more precautions now about hygiene and things that we do that we weren't as focused on before," Buchanan said.
Goodonya credits PPP loans for keeping the business afloat over the pandemic.
Staying open meant staff shortages, a four-day shutdown because servers got sick, and a short hiatus because staff members were simply tired of policing customers who refused to wear face coverings.
For Goodonya, the CDC recommendations come not a moment too soon.
Even though the state or county have yet to update their mask guidance, outside in Encinitas there were plenty of small business patrons getting a breath of fresh air.
"Today is the first time I have been walking down the sidewalk with no mask and it feels great," visitor Jane Allen said.
School teacher Elaine Feuer-Barton shared that sentiment, but she still keeps her mask handy.
"I plan to wear a mask still if I go into crowded places, into the grocery stores, if I attended a ball game,” Elaine Feuer-Barton said.
As for those who got the disease and recovered -- the CDC still recommends they get vaccinated.
If not, they must wear masks indoors.
Buchanan said with this new recommendation, her policing days are over and she won't be checking vaccination cards at the door.
"It's a pharmaceutical. It has risks. OK, there are risks for not having it and risks for getting it and that is just a fact, so I am not going to tell anyone what to do with their bodies," Buchanan said.
Both State and county health departments tell NBC 7 they are reviewing the CDC's new guidelines and encouraging as many people that can to get vaccinated.
The CDC recommendations do not override state and local health codes.