With COVID-19 restrictions lifted by Governor Phil Murphy on Friday -- which included wearing masks indoors, social distancing, and capacity restrictions -- summer businesses felt like they finally have a shot to make money again following 2020.
"One hundred percent different vibe now. It's like it was before: fun and happy. Last year, when I was out here, I was like the COVID cop," said Joe Bachen who stepped in to work at the Margate Dairy Bar to help the owner.
Bachen added that the bad weather also did not keep people away.
"I'm bundled up out here with three layers and they're out here in shorts and tank tops getting ice cream," said Bachen.
In Ocean City, people were excited about the rides back on for the first time in a year. The beach was also packed.
Some people waited out the entire weekend. Others took a gamble hoping Monday would be a perfect beach day, and they were right!
"I didn't actually get to come down last year because of the quarantine. We were in a stay-at-home mandate, but now we're here and actually getting to enjoy the sun," said Carson Campbell, a Temple University student living in North Philadelphia.
Samantha Kwiatkowski and her sister Maya, of Reading, Pennsylvania, said they noticed a difference in people's moods immediately this year.
"Walk the boardwalk without the masks; that's nice," said Samantha.
Maya added, "Everything is open."
Marilyn Cartagena and her family came down Sunday from Northeast Philadelphia.
"Today is beautiful. It's nice and sunny and it's warm. Yesterday was so cold and gloomy, but it's a beautiful day today," she said.
Brandy Turner of the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia said she took the chance on the weather and is glad she did.
"This morning wasn't a good beach day, but I'm glad we came out because it is warming up, and we actually got to see a family of dolphins. There were about seven dolphins in the water, and it was really beautiful to watch them come in and out," Turner said.