OAKLAND (KPIX) — With COVID restrictions more relaxed in the Bay Area than they have been in months, many more people are traveling or planning to attend church this Easter weekend.

Both the CDC and California health officials offered relaxed travel guidance this week.

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“People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States,” the CDC posted on its website on Friday, saying they are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.

The CDC’s recommendations come a day after the California Department of Public Health updated its guidance, dropping a recommendation to keep nonessential travel within 120 miles of home that was issued at the height of the surge back in January.

A busy Friday on Bay Area roadways was one key indicator people are not sitting at home this holiday weekend.

There were also much larger crowds visible at airports.

“Every seat was filled. You know, it’s kind of funny, because you have to be six feet apart. And then when you’re in the aircraft, you’re stuck together,” said traveler Victoria Jenkins who had arrived at Oakland International Airport for a visit to the Bay Area from Louisiana.

A couple from Oakland was just returning home after celebrating their anniversary with a trip. Last year they were sheltering in place.

“Married 20 years, so we had to celebrate when we want to get away from the Bay Area,” said Tavis Campbell.

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“We wanted to celebrate just because we were inside for so long. It felt good to get out,” said his wife Mallika Campbell.

On this Good Friday, many took time to rejoice in person at their place of worship because they could. But churches will still have some precautions and protocols in place for celebrating Easter.

“We will have temperature checkers and a ticker tracker so we can track the number of people that are coming in to make sure that we are practicing safe social distancing,” said Corey Vason with Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland.

Bishop Bob Jackson was beaming with joy to be back at his church.

“We haven’t been in the sanctuary…this is the first time in over a year. I’m smiling under the mask. We are so happy to be back in the sanctuary,” said Jackson.

This time last year, Easter and spring break had a completely different look as the nation came under the grips of the coronavirus pandemic.

UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi said today we have reason to celebrate with caution .

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“If you’re fully vaccinated, I feel very comfortable with you doing whatever you want. So it’s actually those of us who are unvaccinated who should be careful and not do indoor dining,” said Ghandi.

Juliette Goodrich