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: 2 Atlantic City Councilmembers Request State Troopers Assist Police After Violent Weekend
“It’s nice to be out, it’s 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.
“It’s really our first dinner out with her in over a year,” Geibel said.
A meal with mom-mom wasn’t their only reason to celebrate.
“Today is my son’s 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 doesn’t miss the special occasions with her grandkids, but COVID changed that.READ MORE: 6 Day Workweeks And Poked By Needles: YaFavTrashman Fighting For Philadelphia Sanitation Workers' Safety
“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.
“I’ve 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 with Not Your Average Joe’s.
“We’ve 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 we’ve all made to get to today as we look to what’s ahead tomorrow.
“It’s been an experience I hope our country never has to go through again,” Rizzo said. “Seeing people’s faces instead of seeing the masks, seeing smiles. We need more smiles.”MORE NEWS: Police: 2 Teens In Car Shot At Red Light In Philadelphia's Olney Neighborhood
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.