ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Sunday was the official start to summer. With pandemic restrictions soon to be a thing of the past, New Mexicans have a lot more to look forward to this year.

From packed local ice cream shops to an arcade full of families, most New Mexicans were looking to beat the heat on the first day of summer. “It’s very hot over here, like 100 degrees but it’s nice weather, nice overcast today,” said Fred Norris.

Norris and his family spent the day at Hinkle Family Fun Center. He says with the state ending pandemic restrictions soon, they have a lot more to look forward to this summer. “Hopefully that means more fun for us because we’ve been cooped inside for too long,” said Norris.

Hinkle General Manager Colleen Wyatt says those restrictions are ending just in time for their busiest season. “We’re really excited to be able to offer our guests the option of just being able to come in when they want to instead of having the pre-purchase tickets online, stand outside in line,” said Wyatt.

Over in Old Town, there were plenty of visitors strolling around the plaza. “It’s been getting hotter and so everyone is coming in for old drinks and ice cream,” said Geneva Sandoval.

At Steve’s Ice Cream and Java, workers say their boss hired on more staff to help handle the summer time rush. “Especially with a lot of people getting vaccinated now, more people want to travel and have some ice cream. Most of our customers are tourists,” said Stevie Salas.

People say they are looking forward to a normal summer this year. “People can come out and focus on having fun which is great,” said Wyatt. Hinkle tells us even though the pandemic restrictions are going away, they plan on keeping a cleaning team in place that will constantly disinfect high touch areas in the arcade.