WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - The Abbey Food & Bar in West Hollywood held a countdown celebration event Monday to mark California's June 15 reopening and the end of COVID-19 restrictions.
"It's been a tough 15 months. We opened and closed four times to follow all the restrictions from the Health Department and at 12:01 [Tuesday], we are ready to dance. We are ready to go up to the bar and order from the bartender, sit at the bars. It's a day that I'm so grateful for," said David Cooley, the owner of The Abbey.
Cooley said his establishment will end COVID-19 restrictions on June 15.
"At 12:01, the restaurants and bars no longer have to have social distancing. You can pull your tables closer together than 8 feet apart and there will be no mask requirements," said Cooley.
Patrons at The Abbey Monday evening were excited about the reopening.
"I am most excited for everybody to have masks off. Everybody wants to smile at each other again and see each other's faces. I'm excited for everything to go back to normal. We built a different society during the pandemic and I'm excited to see everything come and go back to the way things used to be but better," said Eddie.
Some patrons are looking forward to the restrictions easing too.
"It'll be really nice to actually be able to stand up and not have to sit at a booth at a restaurant and the whole point of going to a bar was to socialize and meet people especially in West Hollywood, everyone's so social so it'll be nice to do that again," said Alex.
Other patrons believe June 15 is a sign of progress too.
"It's a sign that humanity will always prevail but it also means we have to be cautious," said Lather.
"More than half of Californians have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, that's the only reason we're here today. I encourage everyone else to encourage their friends and family who haven't gotten vaccinated to go and get vaccinated to protect themselves and the community so we can continue on this path to recovery," said Glen.
COVID-19 restrictions will vary depending on the establishment as some venues could still require masks upon entering.
A spokesperson from the LA Greek Theatre said the theatre will look forward to seeing further protocol recommendations from the state and county.
Jeff Loebb, the General Manager of the Broadway in Hollywood & Hollywood Pantages Theatre sent the following statement:
"With guidance from the LA County Department of Public Health, our plans are to open at 100% capacity on August 17th with the return of HAMILTON. To ensure the comfort and health of audiences, staff, cast and crew and prioritize their safety, Broadway in Hollywood has established COVID-19 safety measures that everyone who enters the venue must follow, including but not limited to, wearing masks. Please visit Broadway In Hollywood’s SAFE & CLEAN COMMITMENT page at www.BroadwayInHollywood.com/SafeAndClean for more information."