A sign reading "no face mask, no entry" outside of Blend on 30th Avenue in Astoria will be taken down before the restaurant begins serving lunch Wednesday afternoon.
"We just want to get things back to normal,” said one of the restaurant’s owners, Daniel Perez. “I hate to say it, but if you don't fell comfortable going out, don't go out, but other people who want to go out, enjoy, let them do it.”
Perez said he is excited about New York state lifting capacity restrictions and no longer requiring vaccinated people to wear masks in most places.
He said, starting Wednesday, his restaurant will leave the choice up to their customers.
"Having people maskless if they want to be, if they want to wear masks, no problem,” Perez explained.
Employees at Blend will have a choice as well.
Perez said he wont require anyone to wear a mask and won't be asking for proof of vaccinations.
He said he plans on adding back some tables, but added that the cleaning and sanitization protocols are here to stay.
Over the last several weeks, Mackenzi Farquer has been easing restrictions at her retail shops.
For a while, customers were encouraged to double mask and sanitize before browsing around Lockwood.
Now, only masks are required and Farquer said they are not going anywhere.
"I think it made my staff very uncomfortable to hear the CDC make such abrupt changes, and now with Cuomo sort of agreeing with it, we are just not ready. We don't feel as though it is in our best interest,” Farquer said.
Jefferson Puello-Puntes opened his hair salon on Broadway in the middle of the pandemic.
Despite the reopening, Puello-Puntes said they will still require masks, vaccinated or not, and keep up their partitions and limit appointments.
"We are going to still wait a couple more months to see how it is going and after that we can change our mind,” he said.
A few blocks away, the employees and K & T Meats plan to keep the masks on, for now.
Owner Rob Eliodromytis said COVID has not stopped customers from waiting on line to get inside the butcher shop, but it has slowed down the availability of meat.
He said he is going to see how things go before making any permanent changes.
"It is crazy, but hopefully we will be able to ease up, letting a few more in at a time,” Eliodromytis said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said each business can set their own rules and that New Yorkers should exercise their best judgment.