SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) – As California reopened this week, lifting the vast majority of COVID-19 safety protocols, it’s the first Father’s Day in a year that families have had the opportunity to be out and about in the community with friends and loved ones.

At Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, the Pearl Family got to share a meal on this Father’s Day.

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“It’s really nice. It’s our first time eating inside a restaurant in over a year,” Betsy Pearl told CBSLA’s Jeff Nguyen.

Her husband, Brian Pearl, sat with his wife, son, his mom and their relatives.

Photograph of Brian Pearl’s father, who he used to come to Bob Big’s Boy when he was a kid. (Courtesy Pearl Family)

“It’s been a rough year, but we’re very happy and we feel blessed and happy that we’re able to get together on this Father’s day,” said Brian, who used to come to Bob’s with his dad, long before he ever became a father himself.

A year ago at this time, dining at a restaurant in California wasn’t possible, and the moment was not lost on Bob’s Big Boy Manager Mitzy Natareno.

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“It’s actually pretty exciting,” Natareno said, “because we have customers reunited with their families.

For others, the freedom to move about meant going to the Santa Monica bike path with their kids or hitting the sand and surf to bond in the fresh air. The experience of this year’s Father’s Day was a little bit different for everyone.

At Pierce Brothers Cemetery in North Hollywood, Rosa Rodriguez had a picnic with her daughter and in-laws to remember her late husband.

“She has nothing else, so this is the closest thing she has to her father, to come and bring her and celebrate him,” Rodriguez said of her daughter.

Back at Bob’s Big Boy, customer Harry Stephens reminisced about coming to this same restaurant with his father, who is now 95-years-old.

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“It’s a nostalgic thing, us being here,” Stephens’s father said.