FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – Memorial Day looks different this year than it did in 2020 — fewer restrictions, COVID-19 case rates are continuing to improve and millions are vaccinated in California.

“As I think about where we were last year, this is like drastically different,” said Fresno State Professor Dr. Jenelle Pitt, who took her son to the park on Monday morning.

The heat didn’t make it easy for families to get outside their homes this Memorial Day, but some parents chose the early morning to enjoy the day.

Pitt said she is starting to feel more comfortable doing things she enjoyed doing pre-pandemic and woke up Monday and decided to go to the gym.

“Given COVID and just kind of trying to maintain some sense of wellness health, I definitely wanted to get to the gym. I actually just renewed my membership after over a year,” Pitt said.

She said on her way back from the gym, she drove past Firgarden Loop Park and saw that not a lot of people were there.

“I rushed back and woke up my son and was like ‘c’mon lets get here,” Pitt said.

With vaccinations and as the positivity rate continues to decline in the state, families took the three-day weekend to spend it with each other.

“We’re just gonna go out, get some ice cream after this, visit family and barbecue and relax,” Fresno resident Leandae Blair said. “Everyone that we’re around are vaccinated too, so it’s just small family.”

In the last year, upticks in cases have followed after holidays in Fresno County. But Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said they hope vaccinations and the safe messaging will prevent a surge.

“What we’re hoping is all of those factors work in our favor so that whatever small uptick that we have will not actually be a surge and will not overwhelm the healthcare system, the testing system,” Vohra said.

And Pitt said she hopes the community continues to move forward.

“I feel even just sitting here, my son is here, my dog is here, I’m here, just kind of soaking the connections with everyone, and you can feel the energy. There’s a good energy being out here,” Pitt said.