SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) – With Tuesday, June 15, only two days away, many Californians are cheering, but mixed in with excited Southland residents are those that plan to take a more cautious approach to personal COVID-19 safety protocols.

Businesses like Bruno’s Italian Restaurant are allowed, as of Tuesday, to open at fully capacity. Customers, as long as they are vaccinated can freely go into restaurants and other businesses without their masks as long as that falls under the establishment’s guidelines.

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“We’ve been waiting for that for quite a bit. We’re excited to open up all the way,” Pantaleone Bruno, the restaurant’s owner, told CBSLA’s Rick Montanez.

However, rejoining large crowds or going into spaces packed with other people is not the most exciting news where others are concerned.

“At this time, we’re okay with it,” Chris Porter, a traveler from Chicago said, “because it’s summer and they have it under control and the majority of people over 65, the most vulnerable, are vaccinated.”

Porter and her husband, Terry, said that even as restrictions are being lifted, they intend to keep their distance and keep their masks handy.

“We’ve been fully vaccinated,” Terry Porter said. “We’ll wear our masks when we walk in big crowds, a little respect for other people.”

Dr. Ricardo Whyte, the medical director for psychiatric services at  the Community Hospital of San Bernardino said a bit of anxiety about the reopening is to be expected.

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“There are just a lot of unknowns because we haven’t done this before, so it’s reasonable to expect some anxiety,” he said.

Whyte also added that the key is to keep the anxiety from taking over, to focus on things that we can control like avoiding large crowds if you still prefer some social distance, but that if feelings of anxiety feel out of control, it’s best to reach out to a mental health professional.

“Practices that center you can be very important to help you get through moments like this,” Whyte said.

Even those who said they are experiencing some anxiety about the state’s reopening also said they are anxious to see the pandemic in the past.

“I hope this thing is over for good, never comes back and good luck to everybody,” Panteleone said.


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