SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It's the first weekend in Old Sacramento since California fully reopened on June 15, but it hasn't come without its growing pains.
"Old Sac has really come back, like really hard too," Wyatt Rowe, a bartender at Finnegan's Pub, said.
It is also the first weekend vaccinated guests don't have to wear masks in public and go in and out of most Old Sacramento businesses. It's Batman's, otherwise known as Marquise Gooch's first day back at work at his restaurant in 15 months.
"I'm here, I'm back, just glad to be back, just to open up finally again," Gooch, a restaurant worker dressed as Batman, said.
As restaurants and bars fill up, they're still facing staffing challenges.
"They've had their issues up and down but that's going to be everywhere for like the next six or seven months," Rowe said.
Wayne Baker, a bartender at Honey and the Trapcat, believes former restaurant workers moved on to new careers.
"People maybe during the pandemic found a different industry that they were going into or they just decided that they were trying something else, so staffing issues are definitely a thing, but I think people will be back," Baker said.
Because of some of the traffic issues business owners have reported, Sacramento Police are out on Saturday night in full force doing increased enforcement across the entertainment district in both Old Sacramento and downtown Sacramento, keeping a close eye on any issues throughout the night.
"We've received some concerns from our community based on noise violations and really about motorcycles and vehicles driving reckless in the area, speeding," Officer Karl Chan, a spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department said.
Those are issues Rowe has a front-row seat to at Finnegan's Pub.
"We get a lot of like really cool low-riders like personally, they're really cool, but they do tend to be a little bit loud, some people tend to do the burnouts, once we start getting those down then PD does shut it down because we have so much foot traffic," Rowe said.
And for parking, forget about it!
"Just my personal experience, trying to get down here, the driving, it's like packed all the time, so I ride my bicycle in this heat," Baker said.
Still, patient locals are feeling hopeful, taking their masks off and breathing in somewhat of a new year.
"The pandemic had everybody down, but through it all people, through it all, we still are here, and guess what, we're going to be here, it's 2021, what are y'all talking about?!" Jamariouse Posey, an Old Sac visitor, said.