By CBS3 Staff

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey is easing COVID-19 restrictions on businesses on Friday. Starting at 6 a.m., indoor dining capacity increased from 35% to 50%.

It’s a big step closer to normalcy for restaurant owners.

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“We took a big risk and we opened in the middle of the pandemic, in October, which was very hard,” Rida Massoud, owner of Li Beirut, said.

Li Beirut is a Lebanese restaurant in Collingswood, and opening up during the middle of a pandemic has not been easy, especially with state restrictions on capacity limits.

“This is a really good opportunity for us to grow our business, as well as for the people to communicate and be around each other more, now that the vaccines are out,” Massoud said.

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The same goes for gyms and fitness clubs, barbershops, salons, and other personal care businesses.

Employees will not be included in that count, and seating at bars will continue to be prohibited.

“We will continue to move deliberately, responsibly, incrementally guided by public health data,” Murphy said.

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Indoor gatherings are also increased from 10 to 25 people.