By Renée Santos

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – With a margarita on the rocks to kick off Cinco De Mayo, this year’s celebration felt different and it started with the city simply being open and businesses serving customers inside.

“We always want to be busy,” said Juan Lopez, of The Virgin Sturgeon Restaurant and Marina.

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Lopez said he felt the change in energy with people back at Virgin Sturgeon. He’s even seeing his regulars again like Jay and Pat.

“Last year, we couldn’t go anywhere. We were stuck at home,” Pat said.

“It’s great. We are looking forward to being able to sit at the bar again,” Jay said.

Down at Zocalo, it’s been busy all day with reservations both inside and outside the restaurant.

“It’s not quite the party pre-COVID, but we still have a lot of people coming in to celebrate,” said Sasha Jimenez, general manager of Zocalo.

Cinthia Mabutas says being out felt almost like what it used to be.

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“It feels good to enjoy time with your friends again,” she said.

Maria Duenas was even able to dress up for today.

“I’m really happy it’s just nice to actually do something,” she said.

Last year, bars were closed and restaurants were only allowed to complete orders to go. Drinks were handed out in to-go cups.

In Woodland, outdoor dining has been extended into the streets with room for as many as 400 people.

“It’s actually getting back to normalcy. Honestly, that’s part of the whole spirit of what we are trying to do here,” one man said.

Many are just hoping this Cinco De Mayo is the start to a brighter summer ahead.

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“It feels really good,” Duenas said.