OTTAWA -- It's the first long weekend in Ottawa with fewer COVID-19 restrictions.

Large crowds are allowed at outdoors events and more tourists are expected in the capital during the Colonel By Day long weekend.

"We’re going to be enjoying the outdoors for the weekend now that we can go out and the kids are very excited to be playing with other people again," said Stacey, who was out at the park with her son. 

It also marks the return of the Kanata Family Fun Fair and midway operator Geordie Todd can’t conceal his joy.

"We’re just excited to be back doing what we’re doing," he said. 

 It’s been nearly two years since Ottawa has seen the midway treats, the rides and carnival games in full action. This long weekend, it’s back with the addition of new protocols.

"We have a very distinct sanitization program in place,” said Todd. “Fogging the rides in between time slots and high touch areas periodically.”

There will also be temperature checks at the gates, social distancing rules in place and only 100 people at a time will be allowed inside the grounds at a time.

 But it’s not just big events anticipating the buzz that comes with the province’s recent lifting of restrictions. Its being felt all around the city too.  From retail to restaurants, business is on the increase. 

"The amount of traffic we've had in the last few days have been enormous," said Spa Cafe owner Joseph Saikaley. He opened the cafe in the ByWard Market in Cctober and is trying to keep up with the traffic. "We’ve had to double our orders."

The increased holiday traffic and crowds are also followed by more enforcement. Ottawa police say patrols will be out in full force over the holiday weekend

"We are going to be out on road ways water ways,” said Const. Amy Gagnon with the Ottawa Police Service. "There’s a zero tolerance for alcohol and cannabis when you’re operating vehicles.”

Whether the plan is to head out of town or to just enjoy the capital attractions, it’s a better feeling with the looser COVID restrictions.