By Kimberly Davis

CHERRY HILL N.J. (CBS) — At the stroke of midnight, businesses and restaurants in New Jersey will no longer be faced with COVID-19 capacity restriction. This is a big step on the road to recovery, but some are planning to ease back into their pre-pandemic normal.

It’s the news restaurants have been waiting more than a year to hear — no more capacity limits and the people who spoke with Eyewitness News on Tuesday night say it’s about time.

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These Washington Township residents are gathered for a girls’ night out in Collingswood, celebrating “Taco Tuesday.” But that’s not all they’re celebrating.

“It’s time for America to open up and be themselves,” Mary Beth Pasquine said. “I feel we’ve been sheltered long enough, and it’s time to move forward.”

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“We’re just so excited,” Teesa Vanaman said. “The group is starting to grow again and I’m hoping by next month, we’ll be all 20 of us out again. It’s been fabulous.”

Those who have been cooped up in their homes throughout 2020 are happy to see capacity restrictions come to an end on Wednesday in the Garden State, well, sort of.

“These are the most aggressive steps we have taken to reopen to date,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Though there are no more capacity limits for those dining indoors or out, restaurants must still maintain a distance of 6 feet between tables. But those in the service industry say it’s a step in the right direction.

Bistro di Marino of Collingswood says they will ease back into 100% capacity.

“Definitely feels like it’s a good feeling to get back to some sort of normalcy,” Bistro di Marino Assistant Genera Manager David Reeves said. “We’ve all been looking forward to this moment for a long time.”

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Capacity limits are a thing of the past, but masks must continue to be worn inside New Jersey businesses despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations announced last week.

Kimberly Davis