SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The gradual reopening of California has been going on for months, but in a matter of hours our COVID-19 world will look a lot different.
Most restrictions will be lifted come June 15th. It’s the reopening for California and a sign of things getting back to normal.READ MORE: 'Fire Hose' Of Subtropical Moisture Bearing Down On Northern California
But for many Bay Area businesses it’s still a battle to survive.
Lifting restrictions is a major step in getting members back in the gym, as Alex Fitness in the Castro prepares for more of its patrons to return.
“We’re not sure if it will or not,” said Harry Breaux of Alex Fitness. “We’ll wait and see but probably a lot of gyms are hoping the same thing.”
Inside gyms, capacity and mask regulations for fully vaccinated will be lifted. But individuals and businesses can still set their own limitations if they choose.
At Solano Junction in Albany, it’s a moment 15 months in the making.
“Barely surviving, it was hard for us to survive and now business is picking up,” said Lila Neupane.
“Really excited about the reopening. We can seat more people,” said Praveena Shrestha.
In school settings, it’s still masks on for now, but that could change by the fall.
For the A’s and Giants, it’s full capacity starting June 22nd with fans encouraged to wear masks, but not required. But on public transportation and at airports, masks will be required until at least mid-September.
For Harry Breaux, an AIDS survivor, living through an epidemic, and now a pandemic has changed him in so many ways.
“We rallied to help each other whereas in COVID, we rallied to stay away from each other,” said Breaux. “I’m looking forward to welcoming a normal life back.”
As most restrictions will be lifted June 15, stricter workplace rules will remain in effect for employees until at least June 28th.
CAL OSHA, the state regulators for workplace settings, is set to meet again later this week.
In Pleasanton, some people and businesses aren’t ready to ditch the mask, but Kayla Farmer can’t wait since she is a wedding planner.
“I’m ready,” said Farmer. “I’m ready. I worked an 8-hour shift with it on today.”
“I haven’t flown in a year and a half and I used to go on vacation every year, so I guess I’m still a little apprehensive,” said George Belhumeur of Pleasanton.
Dr. Prem Tripathi is with Silhouette Aesthetics and says they plan to take the no mask sign off their front door but they will let their patients decide what’s best for them individually.READ MORE: Student Arrested For Threatening Violence At San Bruno's Capuchino High School
“The flu season didn’t exist when we wore masks so we’re happy about that but it does take away from the personal aspect . We are seeing patients and clients and looking at their face. Our entire practice is based on the face,” said Dr. Tripathi.
Jack Sisco is a Tesla employee.
“I work for Tesla so they are mandating still after the date as well,” said Sisco. “I really don’t have a problem with it’s just everybody else that can’t follow the rules.”
DaBoccery will be opening next month bringing jobs and activities to the Livermore area. Lance Laxson is Director of Operations.
“It’s a celebration,” said Laxson.” There will be axe throwing, bocce ball, shuffleboard , corn hole so it’s a celebration of being back to normal.”
Businesses in San Francisco were eager to open their doors, but many remain cautious.
“We’ve been waiting for this day, so we’re really excited, but it’s a different sort of excitement than any other restaurant opening I’ve done,” said Sarah Trubnick, owner and wine director of The Barrel Room. “Those were pure excitement. This is excitement, but a little bit of nervousness, a little hesitation, but I think that’s going to kind of melt away.”
The Barrel Room, a financial district establishment on Sansome Street, has been closed entirely since August, because to-go, grocery delivery, and outdoor dining were not sustainable in the mostly deserted area. Staff members prepped for the grand reopening with a food and wine tasting Monday evening.
Trubnick says former workers returned for the reopening and she is currently adequately staffed. The Barrel Room will be open for weekday dinner service.
“We’ve been living off of our savings, and if we have a very, very slow summer and we don’t get any funding from the revitalization fund, we’re not sure what’s going to happen financially,” added Trubnick.
Starting June 15, vaccinated customers can go mask free, but it will mostly be an honor system. Businesses can still set their own restrictions if they choose.
“I was bored of wearing mask, so now life feels normal, but I am vaccinated. I got both the vaccine so I’m okay,” said Jack Gupta of San Francisco.
“I’d like to give it up, but for those who aren’t vaccinated it may make me more susceptible, I guess. I have to keep it on,” said Eddie Hard, who was visiting San Francisco from Sacramento.
Garima Gupta is excited for a return to normal.
“It’ll be awesome, I’m tired of wearing mask so I’m really looking forward to it, and really looking forward to seeing more people around.”
San Francisco resident Rama Bokka is looking forward to going back to the office in the Financial District.
“Telecommuting for like 15 months – so boring at home,” he said.MORE NEWS: Kid-Size Doses Of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine More Than 90% Effective
Juliette Goodrich and Betty Yu contributed to this report.