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San Francisco Bay Area Residents Prepare For California's 'COVID Independence Day'

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- It's been more than a year in the making, the day the tough restrictions put into place to battle the COVID pandemic are finally lifted, and many San Francisco Bay Area residents are ready to celebrate.

Some are even calling Tuesday "California's COVID Independence Day."

Across the East Bay Saturday, residents reacted to what life will be without the restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

"It's gonna be a weird sudden change," said Maeva Grascoeur, an Oakland Tech High School student.

"I'm looking forward to walking down the street without my mask," said Noemi Grascoeur, also a student at Oakland Tech.

"I'm excited to just see people smiling and see faces," said Berkeley resident Antara Aiama.

Starting on June 15, no more masking and social distancing for vaccinated people in most places and good-bye to capacity limits.

"This idea of reopening really means reopening businesses, reopening store fronts," said Berkeley resident John Pujol.

Health officials said they gave out nearly 40 million vaccines in California and the Golden State has one of the lowest case rates in the country. But most people said it's far from mission accomplished.

"I'm not really ready for the world to fully open," said Berkeley resident Melissa Shirley.

Shirley said masks will be optional at her office starting on Tuesday.

"I'm not too happy about it," she said. "I'm very worried. So I'm just a little more uncomfortable with the idea of sitting in a closed space without a mask on."

Many said they'll still mask up indoors and avoid large crowds.

"I really want to go to a concert, like I cannot wait to go to a concert," Aiama said. "But I think I'm going to be a bit hesitant."

Nothing changes for Tyrone Harrison, a Hayward father who does not plan to get the vaccine.

"I'll probably still wear a mask and probably still keep my distance," said Harrison.

Not just old habits, but new behavior is also hard to change.

"I personally don't think I'm ready yet, June 15 is too soon," said Noemi Grascoeur.

"To me, the date doesn't mean anything," said UC Berkeley student Constance Ravy.

"I don't know that things are going to change for me right away," Aiama said. " I think it's gonna be a slow ramp up."

"I'll have no more issue, at the current rate, I'll have no more issue by the end of Summer like hanging out just like we were two years ago," said Pujol.

After June 15, even vaccinated people will still have to wear a mask when using public transit or go to indoor schools, healthcare facilities, and correctional facilities.

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