Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in Philly suburbs draw mixed reactions

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Just in time for Easter Sunday, COVID-19 restrictions have been eased in Philadelphia's suburbs, allowing for bar service to resume and capacity to increase to 75% at restaurants, casinos, malls and theaters.

While some are thrilled to expand capacity, others have mixed feelings about relaxing restrictions.

For the first time in more than a year, Shaunde Baker, a bartender at Chili's near City Avenue, can serve her customers at the bar.

"I'm excited on the sense it's going to feel a little bit normal," she expressed.

But with more freedom, she said, also comes more responsibilities.

"With the restrictions being lifted," she shared, "it's our job to protect our customers because they're going to feel like it's normal to be out and about and do this and that."

That includes keeping tables spaced out and hand sanitizing stations filled.

Her manager Tiffany Yancey agreed. Yancey said about half of her staff is vaccinated but the local rise in cases has her and some employees feeling nervous.

"It's still the unknown of what will that do when you still have people coming in that don't have their shots," she said. "With COVID still lingering, some have their shots, some don't, some don't care."

Some customers had similar reservations.

"I just think we are probably still moving a little too fast," said Rhonda Knight, while customer Kamyah noted that the increase in capacity might help matters. "When you go in to dine, the wait is extremely long," she observed.

Kamyah, however, had apprehensions as well. "Too many people, more COVID," she said.