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'It's Freedom': Philadelphia Lifts Most COVID-19 Restrictions; Breath Of Fresh Air For Gyms, Bars, Restaurants

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia lifted most of its coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, but not all of them are going away just yet. For most of the pandemic, Philadelphia has had tighter restrictions than the rest of Pennsylvania, but with the city lifting many rules Wednesday, gyms, bars, and restaurants are now finally breathing a big sigh of relief.

"It's just fabulous," Winnie Clowry said.

Winnie's is considered a mainstay on Main Street in Manayunk, but the bar and restaurant almost went under after a year of tight COVID-19 restrictions. Soon, many of those rules will be lifted.

"The bar will be open," Clowry, owner of Winnie's, said. "Whatever we can handle, we will take. I'm just hoping for a lot of business."

Starting Wednesday, there will no longer be indoor capacity limits in Philadelphia, something many people welcome.

"It's freedom," Warren Schlichting said. "We're finally seeing the end of the pandemic."

"I think it's great," Abby Schubiger said.

But some businesses are choosing to still cap capacity -- like Cadence Cycling in Manayunk.

"For now, we will stick with the seven people until we've had a chance to talk to our staff a little bit more," owner David King said, "and work out what they're comfortable with as well."

On top of capacity, the city also removes distancing rules on Wednesday. That means there's no need for "equipment temporarily closed" signs on machines at gyms like at Retro Fitness in Spring Garden.

"It's great people don't have to wait for equipment," Retro Fitness owner Bob Polizzano said.

But, for now, Philadelphia will still enforce its indoor mask mandate despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that fully vaccinated people don't have to mask up.

"That's been the biggest source of contention so far as far as membership base," Polizzano said. "It's actually caused a lot more issues than one would expect."

The 11 p.m. last call for bars and restaurants will also still be mandated in Philly, but that and the city's indoor mask mandates are expected to end on Friday, June 11.

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