ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Restaurants sat empty as Minnesotans worked to stop another surge of COVID-19.
They closed their doors in mid-November, and Monday was the day they were waiting for.
They were once again able to welcome guests back in to dine-in while operating at 50% capacity.
"I knew we would get to today. It's just when, when was the question," Pappy's Kitchen Co-Owner Sheila Pappas said.
"It felt like the first day of school. It felt like the first day of a late Christmas present," Victoria's Ristorante and Wine Bar Co-Owner Natalie Victoria said.
Those same sentiments are felt by Crave Food and Drink General Manager Andrew Sincebaugh.
"We're excited to have guests back in here today. Just to kind of see that smile on their faces as they come to the door because that's really what does it for us," Sincebaugh said.
For nearly two months, restaurants sat empty, but on Monday a sense of normalcy returned.
"It's been really quiet in here the last six weeks. So just myself and a hand full of people doing to-go. I'm ready for that laughter that dull roar of the crowd," Sincebaugh said.
The hospitality industry has been hit this past year, but through it all excitement to get back to doing what they love continues.
"There's a different feeling in the air this time I think than the last time. I think more excitement among the other restaurant owners," Victoria said.
Sheila Pappas, Co-owner of Pappy's place said it couldn't be done without the customers continued support.
"Thank you so much. We're very blessed," Pappas smiled.