Oklahoma City no longer has a mask mandate for the first time in nine months. Some small businesses said this is great news while others said this doesn't change anything.
For some Oklahoma residents, the mask mandate removal is music to their ears.
“With that being lifted, more people will get out, feel more comfortable knowing that the guidelines have changed and it's now safer for them to go out without a mask,” said Candace Gideo, owner of Papa Dio’s.
Gideo said she can breathe a sigh of relief.
“If the government says that the kitchen still has to wear a mask, then that's what they'll do. If we don't have to, it gets really warm in the kitchen, so I would prefer that they not, simply for health reasons,” Gideo said.
She said adapting to unprecedented times has been tough and Friday will be the first time she'll be able to see her customers for the first time in months, but a few miles west, a local restaurant owner said it's just another day for him.
“I'm still going to require people for now to wear the masks,” said Stephen Ivory, owner George’s Happy Hog Bar-B-Q.
Ivory took over the business after his mother, Debra Ivory, died due to COVID-19 complications in December.
“She always used to ask people how you doing, always greet everybody, you know, when they come in. People still talk about that, they still ask about her,” Ivory said.
Ivory said COVID-19 hits close to home for him. Customers currently can only eat outside, and he's not sure when that will change. He said he doesn't see his restrictions changing the flow of business.
Officials said there's still more work to be done, but this is a step in the right direction to getting back to normal.