HALIFAX -- Dartmouth business owners are applauding Friday's announcement from the province regarding the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

“I am extremely excited to get back to work,” says hair stylist Evie Hill. “I’m looking forward to getting back behind the chair and cutting some hair. I’m glad we’re starting June 2.”

Gym owner Devin Sherrington calls phase one of the province’s reopening plan a step in the right direction.

“I think it is a pretty well thought of plan,” he says. “I’m fairly happy with it. I mean, I would love to be back at work full on but I also understand that COVID is here. We need to be smart about what we are doing.”

Nova Scotians living outside of Atlantic Canada were expecting to hear more travel-related information from the province on Friday, with many saying they were left confused by Friday's provincial COVID briefing.

“It will be three years in October that I have not made it home back to Nova Scotia,” explains Ashley Saulnier, who is originally from Nova Scotia. “I’m now living in Ottawa after travelling across the country for work and I was hoping that today’s update would bring hope and good news for people living outside of Nova Scotia to go home and visit family.”

In Cole Harbour, N.S., small business owner Jason Selby recently built a patio addition to his café.

He says the past few weeks have been tough, but he’s grateful for the opportunity to welcome more customers.

“We’re very much looking forward to opening our gift shop again downstairs,” he says. “And having gatherings outside on the patio, we’re looking forward to putting out more seating and having people sit for the first time.”

The province will move between each phase within two to four weeks, depending on COVID-19 activity in the province, public health and testing capacity, hospitalizations and vaccination rates.