FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Friday evening, downtown Fayetteville looked the most lively it's looked since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Amid the start of Governor Roy Cooper's Phase 2, locals had the chance to dine-in at their favorite restaurants.
Nathan Cuffee, an owner of Blue Moon Cafe along Hay Street, opened up shop at 5 p.m. sharp.
"Everyone's just ready to get back to what was seemingly normal, haha," Cuffee added.
Families, friends, and others were out walking, conversing, and enjoying the warm day before the thunderstorms rolled through.
Cuffee says his cafe is fully staffed and ready to deal with the new state-mandated precautions: spreading tables six feet apart, servers wearing masks, and regularly sanitizing surfaces.
"A lot of excitement. The staff is excited to be back," Cuffee said.
Cuffee, along with other restaurants along Hay Street, says the return of dine-in will bring some much-needed business.
"50 percent is more than we were actually expecting, and we're just happy to be able to see some friendly faces, again," Cuffee added.
Just 20 minutes away, near the Hope Mills area, April Ann's Healing Hands: Therapeutic Spa made its return after closing on March 18.
"I forgot our own prices, yeah, that's pretty bad!" April Shumard said.
Shumard is the owner of the therapeutic spa. She tells ABC11 the Paycheck Protection Loan and her realtor not charging rent for April or May kept her business alive.
"That's basically going to cover June's rent, and then start-up costs of getting the UV lights and disinfectant and all of the other stuff we're going to need," Shumard said.
On her first day back, Shumard had three clients and says she's booked up until Tuesday.
Shumard says it's all about making sure her clients and staff feel comfortable.
"We're going to stagger all the clients to where there's no more than one person at a time, and the door will be locked," Shumard said.
The consensus from Shumard and Cuffee is that they're happy to see some much-needed normalcy in their lives.
Fayetteville locals enjoy dine-in experience and other amenities for Phase 2
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