By Betty Yu

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — Contra Costa residents joined others in the San Francisco Bay Area Sunday, now able to enjoy indoor meals and other new freedoms as the county moved into the COVID-19 Red Tier.

Nearly every corner, every parklet and every sidewalk was buzzing with activity in downtown Walnut Creek Saturday evening.

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“I called them and I was like ‘are you guys indoor dining, and he’s like no, and I’m like but you go Sunday… and he’s like you already know about that, and I’m like yes, everybody’s watching everything,” said Kimberly Jacob of Vallejo. “I think people are just happy to get out, get fresh air.”

Jacob and her friends are ready to embrace indoor dining, which is allowed at 25% capacity under the Red Tier.

“I’m looking forward to you know, since vaccination has come about, I see a lot of people eager to come into our new normal,” said Tonia Perteet-Gavin of Pittsburg. “So it’s nice to see that we’re now starting to open up, but at the same time still being cautious and wearing our face masks.”

So far, about a quarter of the population in Contra Costa has received one dose of the vaccine.

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At Modern China Cafe, there was a 2-hour wait for a table. Come Sunday, they’ll be able to serve about 10 tables inside.

“We try to keep our policies a little strict, just to stay ahead of the game, we don’t want to have like a relapse,” said General Manager Chris Scully. “Coming into the Red Tier is huge for us, as a business so we want to keep it that way and keep going in the right direction.”

In addition to restaurants, gyms, museums, and retail stores can increase their occupancy under state guidelines.

“I think it’s great, we have more places to visit, and meet up with friends,” said Allison Chinn of Fremont.

Sonoma County also enters the Red Tier on Sunday, joining the rest of the Bay Area.

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“I think it’s great for the local businesses, i think it’s important that they remain open and that we support them, and it’s good for a change,” said Nicole Axon of Martinez.