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With COVID Continuing to Ease, San Francisco Street Life Returns

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Sunny weather, cultural celebrations and a bit of football fever brought people out on Saturday to enjoy the sights and sounds of the the city.

"Turnout is better than we expected. With everything that's been going on right now, we didn't even know if this was going to happen so -- so far turnout looks great," said Wayne Chan, the Chinese New Year street fair coordinator in San Francisco's Chinatown.

The street fair and a parade helped to kick off the weekend before Lunar New Year, an important opportunity for people to fill the streets of Chinatown and support businesses.

People also soaked up the sun along the Embarcadero Saturday afternoon.

"I do enjoy everyone being back out again," said Keaton Quentin, a new San Francisco resident walking along the waterfront.

Others on the Embarcadero were still cautious yet still excited to be outside in public. They were unsure how crowded the streets would be Saturday.

"It's scary to be out because there are so many people around but it's also really nice to just be around people again," said Sanjeevani Lakshmivarahan.

Whether in Chinatown or on the waterfront, there were proud 49ers fans sporting gear that showed their support for their team. Some had not decided exactly where they would watch Sunday's NFC championship game against the Rams but they were still eager to get together.

"As long as you play it safe and do what you need to do, you know to protect your household and your friends," said Danya Chapman.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health anticipated large crowds this weekend because of multiple events. They put out guidance encouraging people to make sure they are up-to-date on vaccines and boosters before joining large crowds.

Masks were also suggested regardless whether they were required when around a lot of people. This weekend may not let people return to normal but it helped them feel as if they are moving a step closer.

"It means a lot to the business owners. They're happy this is going on. We're seeing a lot of tourism come back to the area," Chan said.

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