DOCKWEILER STATE BEACH (CBSLA) — Memorial Day weekend plans look a lot different this year, as vaccination rates grow and the number of new COVID cases in Southern California wanes.

A group of friends gathers at Dockweiler State Beach ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. (CBSLA)

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Three couples, long-time friends, reunited for a week of relaxation at Dockweiler State Beach

“We didn’t get together unless we new they were vaccinated,” Sylvia Corella, a Walnut resident, said.

And a number of folks agree, saying vaccinations were key for their holiday weekend plans.

For the Gonzalez family from South Los Angeles, a weekend of grilling and hanging out is in their future.

“It feels really good,” Renee Gonzalez said. “It feels comfortable. For us, we still want to be safe, get some normal in our lives.”

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She was out shopping Friday to get the essentials for the weekend gathering that includes only vaccinated family members.

And, over in Downey, Cruise America was working to get their rental RVs back out as soon as they were returned.

Frank Sarenas and his family are just some of the company’s customers, renting a few RVs and heading to camp on the beach near San Diego.

“After staying home for a year, it’s kind of nice to enjoy the weather outside,” he said.

As for Lewis Young, a Los Angeles resident who still hasn’t returned to work on a cruise ship, he’s making the best of his time off grilling for his family.

“I’m cooking today and tomorrow, and I’ll take it to them and then I’m coming back to relax by myself,” Young said.

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The unofficial start to summer this year seems to also mark the unofficial start of post-pandemic life.