MadG's post in ScrollTrigger side scrolling super jumpy in Safari was marked as the answer
@elegantseagulls thanks for your input here. After doing some research last night, a lot of the performance hit was due to having CSS filters on all the image elements on the page. Didn't realize Safari doesn't like filter. Changing those to box shadow made a night and day difference on local. I will definitely look into your suggestions though, thank you!