By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For many Philadelphia restaurant and business owners, Friday’s announcement of the loosening of some COVID restrictions is good news. It’s no secret, it’s been a tough year for our city’s restauranteurs.

“Extremely hard, I mean once-in-a-lifetime kind of situation,” Bobby Saritsoglou said.

Take Saritsoglou’s restaurant, Stina, off 17th and Snyder for example.

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“We have a wood-burning oven and we have really great Neopolitan style pizzas,” Saritsoglou said.

He opened months before the pandemic and has now pivoted to a vibrant takeout business with a healthy share of outdoor dining.

“For us, it’s working out really good,” Saritsoglou said.

On Friday, the city announced changes to its rules to make it a bit easier for local restaurants. They go into effect Monday, March 1.

Outdoor dining is now capped at six people per table — up from 4 — and those six outdoor diners do not have to be from the same household.

“This is a really good step in the right direction for us,” Nicole Marquis said.

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Marquis is the owner of Hip City Veg, Charlie Was a Sinner and Bar Bon Bon.

She’s also the founder of Save Philly Restaurants, a group pushing for the safe reopening of the city’s eateries, and says she’s glad the city eased the outdoor restrictions.

“Six people dining together outside at restaurants is inherently safer than six people from different households gathering at someone’s home or living room,” Marquis said.

Just two weeks ago, the city allowed indoor dining to resume at 50% capacity if certain air filtration requirements are met.

Marquis has already spent thousands preparing her restaurant to safely operate with more people and is simply glad to be on the road to recovery.

“Today was still the first day the staff and I felt that things like different and changing for the better,” Marquis said.

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Other changes going into effect Monday include allowing outdoor catered events, like weddings, are now capped at 100 people. Sporting events spectators are also allowed, provided they follow the state guidelines.