PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After more than a year, Philadelphia officially lifts its final COVID-19 restrictions. Beginning Friday, people in Philadelphia no longer have to wear masks inside — at most locations.
To celebrate Philadelphia’s lifting of its indoor mask mandate, Fishtown planned a big ribbon-cutting ceremony but had to postpone it because of the rain. Some, though, are still partying anyway.READ MORE: Teammates, Coaches Hold Emotional Vigil For Tyler Norton, Boy Killed In Pottstown House Fire
Outside the door at the Garage in Fishtown, there is no longer a mask mandate sign. It opens at 4 p.m. and inside, there will people without masks. The general manager of Garage has been preparing for a big crowd tonight.
“We’re expecting a packed house, all the way ’til closing at 2 a.m. for the first time in 15 months,” Jason Burke said. “And we suspect even at a time when normally business takes a downturn because of people down the shore, people doing other things. [We] will probably have one of the best summers ever because people are so much looking forward to getting out and being around their friends and family again. Just looking forward to kind of getting back to normal. It’s good for people to enjoy themselves again.”
Over in Spring Garden at Retro Fitness, gymgoers no longer need masks.
“It’s been just great seeing everyone coming in smiling. There’s a great sense of energy around everyone in the gym. Everyone is just incredibly excited.” Retro Fitness co-owner Bob Polizzano said.
“It just felt freeing, like, after about a year and a half of having to wear a face mask,” gymgoer Brandon Ciarlante said. “It’s difficult. I felt like my workouts were kinda hampered. I couldn’t do certain things and it’s such a great feeling not to wear it anymore.”READ MORE: Veterans Transform Historic Train Station Into 'Incredibly Special' Cafe In Radnor Township
Philadelphia has been anxiously waiting for this moment for 15 months.
Health officials say for those who are not fully vaccinated, it’s recommended to keep the mask on and some businesses, like Danger Salon in Fishtown, are still requiring face coverings for now.
Philadelphia has the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
The city cited the vaccination numbers as the motive behind lifting the restrictions.
Masks will still be required on public transportation, in schools, and inside healthcare facilities. Certain businesses may also require face coverings.MORE NEWS: Mama-Tee's Effort To Combat Food Insecurity During Pandemic Expands Into Pop-Up Grocery Store
The 11 p.m. last call for restaurants also ends Friday.