Sydney’s cafes, gyms and restaurants welcomed back fully vaccinated customers on Monday after nearly four months of lockdown, as Australia aims to begin living with the coronavirus and gradually reopen with high rates of inoculation.

Some pubs in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, opened at 12:01 a.m. (9:01 a.m. Sunday ET) and friends and families huddled together for a midnight beer, television footage and social media images showed.

“I see it as a day of freedom, it’s a freedom day,” New South Wales state Premier Dominic Perrottet told reporters in Sydney, the state capital. “We are leading the nation out of this pandemic, but this will be a challenge.”

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