ARDMORE, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania is enjoying its first day without nearly all COVID-19 restrictions since they were first put in place last year. As of 12:01 Monday morning, restaurants, bars, stores, salons, gyms, and theaters were able to open at full capacity.
Today, residents and businesses alike were able to get out and back to normal. And with the rain gone, many used the holiday as a chance to do just that, and reflect on the past year that was.READ MORE: Mask Opt-Out Bill For Students Clears Pennsylvania Senate Committee
“Itâs nice to be out, itâs nice to be busy again,” Havertown resident Kathleen Geibel said.
For the Geibel family, the last day of May turned out to be a first and long overdue reunion.
“Itâs really our first dinner out with her in over a year,” Geibel said.
A meal with mom-mom wasnât their only reason to celebrate.
“Today is my sonâs 14th birthday,” Geibel said.
“I never thought it would take this long. I thought maybe a month in the beginning,” Geraldine Rizzo said.
Rizzo usually doesnât miss the special occasions with her grandkids, but COVID changed that.READ MORE: Small Wins: Philadelphia Man Overcame Life Struggles To Become Face Of Clothing Brand
“It was a year of loneliness really,” she said.
With the capacity restrictions lifted, many were eager to get out Monday.
“Elmwood Park Zoo was bonkers today, tons and tons of people,” Geibel said.
And while businesses admit staffing may limit capacity for now, every step toward normal matters.
“Iâve seen a number of applications come through, so it looks like people are ready to get out ready to get back to work,” said Ben Hoch withÂ Not Your Average Joe’s.
“Weâve taken everything for granted, coming and going,” Rizzo said.
So as the sun sets on a day marked for those who served and died for our country, may we also remember the sacrifices weâve all made to get to today as we look to what’s ahead tomorrow.
“Itâs been an experience I hope our country never has to go through again,” Rizzo said. “Seeing peopleâs faces instead of seeing the masks, seeing smiles. We need more smiles.”MORE NEWS: Suspect Gilbert Newton III Testifies, Damning Texts Read During Trial In Murder Of Ex-Girlfriend Morgan McCaffrey
As a reminder, the state-wide mask mandate remains in effect until June 28, or when 70% of those 18 and older are fully vaccinated.