NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City staple started its comeback on Monday.

Restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining as the city entered Phase 2.

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All establishments are required to follow social distancing rules, and employees and customers must wear face coverings when they are within six feet of people.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio said nearly 3,200 restaurants applied to reopen with seating in existing outdoor areas, sidewalks or curb lanes. CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis visited one of them, Midnights in Brooklyn, owned Raffaello VanCouten, who also owns seven other city establishments.

“We’re here. We’re trying to celebrate, have a good time, but there’s always a dark factor just kind of looming over our head. Probably, I would say, 30% of restaurants and bars not coming back,” Vancouten said.

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Asked whether he would dine out Monday, the de Blasio replied “absolutely.”

“The world of New York restaurants is very, very personally important to me. I’m very excited that this day has come. I’m very excited for these folks who have put their whole lives into their restaurants,” he added. “It’s just so much a part of life in this city, but it’s something that gives me a tremendous amount of joy. So, Chirlane and I will be out there, but we’re working out where.”

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Anna Roach was among many out enjoying the first day of sidewalk dining at restaurants.

“You can just feel the energy of people. It feels exhilarating,” Roach said.

“It’s good to see that places are still open. I’m trying to tip well, because people have been out of work for a while,” added Kerry Lanigan of New Jersey.

“Taking advantage of the fact that we have this privilege right now, but also not trying to exploit that,” said Gwen Page of Bushwick.

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PHOTO GALLERY: New York City Enters Phase 2 Reopening

Phase 2 also includes hair and nail salons, barbershops, in-person retail, offices and more.

It was back to business for Courtney Lee, owner of Kinloch Salon. But after being shut down for months, it was certainly not business as usual.

“It was almost like the first day of school, a little nervous,” Lee told DeAngelis. “The doors are locked from the outside, so our receptionist will greet each client, check their temperature, make sure they sign the waiver beforehand.”

Those are just some of the safety measures at the Williamsburg hair salon, along with separating stations to only have three stylists working at a time instead of six. That means half the amount of clients a day, too.

One woman was the first to get the Phase 2 experience at the salon.

“It feels great. It feels like such a treat to be here,” she said.

The mayor estimated, in all, 150,000 to 300,000 New Yorkers would be heading back to work.

“Phase 2 is really a giant step for this city. This is where most of our economy is,” he said.

People were also asking about Phase 3. The mayor said it could happen in two weeks, but added it’s all about the metrics so we’ll have to wait and see.

WEB EXTRA: Click here to apply to reopen for outdoor dining

De Blasio said subway ridership rose 29% from June 4-18, buses were up 22% and the Staten Island Ferry was up 31%. Traffic into Manhattan increased 24% on East River bridges and 10% on Hudson River bridges.

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The latest indicators showed 56 new coronavirus hospitalizations, 329 patients still in the ICU, and only 2% of people testing positive citywide.