Allegheny County officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated ahead of the lifting of restrictions.By Nicole Ford

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The countdown is on until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The sentiment around town is cautiously optimistic.

“Just being able to hang out with people outside of my house seems like a good idea. I’m still a little bit afraid of it,” said Melanie Friedrich.

READ MORE: Gov. Wolf Announces Most COVID-19 Mitigation Orders Will Be Lifted By May 31

Most people we talked to share Friedrich’s opinion.

“Kind of excited to be able to walk around outside without being totally scared of stuff happening but still nervous about all the new people that will be downtown,” said Lauren Seigal.

So as the state prepares to lift those COVID-19 restrictions at the end of the month, how does the county plan to keep people safe?

“The key is to get those last 30% of people out and vaccinated,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

READ MORE: ‘This May 31st Will Look A Lot Different’: Allegheny Co. Officials Say They Will Follow State’s Easing Of COVID-19 Restrictions

In the county’s weekly briefing, Fitzgerald said vaccination is the only solution.

“Businesses and employees should get vaccinated because it will make their patrons feel safe. A retail establishment, a restaurant, an art gallery if everyone there is vaccinated and so are you then you are going to be good,” Fitzgerald said.

But the hard part is addressing the vaccine hesitancy and getting the shots in the last arms. So, the county plans to continue monitoring case numbers and hospitalizations in the hope that soon we will be able to take off the masks.

“As everyone gets vaccinated, we can get back to normal,” Fitzgerald said.

Another big question with these reopening plans is when we will see live entertainment back in the Cultural District.

KDKA spoke with leaders at the Cultural Trust who said they are excited for what’s to come and hope to release more information on what we can expect in the coming days.