PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania businesses that have had to shut down, and then work under several limitations, will finally be able to go to full capacity for the first time since March of 2020.
Earlier in May, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration announced that after midnight May 31, businesses, events and venues could go back to normal, except for mask mandate.
The acting secretary of health recently said that the mask mandate will be lifted on June 28, or when 70-percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
On Sunday, many people enjoyed spending time at restaurants on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, the day before restrictions lifted.
“The people that are vaccinated I think are ready to ditch the mask, but you know the people that aren’t, I think I need to make efforts to do so,” said Bill Merriman.
Some expressed mixed feelings about going to full capacity.
“I feel safe, but I also have an autoimmune disorder, and so it makes me a little bit more nervous, but I am vaccinated, so I at least have a peace of mind that way,” said Emily Faith.
Matt Christie is the owner of Streets on Carson. Like other restaurant owners, he can’t wait to see his restaurant at full capacity for the first time since the pandemic began.
“It’s been, it’s been up and down and stuff like that. At the same time, you know what I mean, you find a way to push on, and you find a way to survive and roll with the punches of the times,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates plan on a more gradual approach this week, saying phase 1 will start this Thursday with just over 50-percent capacity. And phase 2 will take over July 1, with PNC Park opening at full capacity.
For many in the hospitality and entertainment industry, loosening restrictions is a sign of hope.
“I’m excited. I’m excited because I think the thing is, the want is there, so it’s good being in the hospitality industry and stuff like that to get back to what we do, and that’s serving people and making people happy and trying to provide a safe environment for that,” explained Christie.