New episodes of “The Young and the Restless” have finally resumed airing on CBS after months of theme weeks and reruns of classic episodes following the set being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the return to set was, and still has been, a very different experience for the cast of the long-running soap.

Speaking to Page Six, Melody Thomas Scott, who portrays Nikki Newman on the show, revealed that several protocols were in place when the cast headed back to film new episodes in July, and the layers of protection and protocols that are in place are very surreal for all involved—especially since cast members who have become very close over the years can no longer embrace one another off-camera.

“You think, ‘Oh, I’m going to remember not to hug anybody, not get close.’ But we’ve all been a family for decades and it is just so hard for us and we haven’t seen each other for so long,” she said, before revealing that there are people around to discourage it. “It’s kind of like we’re in kindergarten.”

She also revealed that there are things that are done at all times to ensure the cast and crew’s safety, from the moment the cast arrive on set (which includes temperature checks), to going throughout the building (with security wristbands for different floors). In addition, actors are often escorted by stage mangers to the set when they are ready to film.

However, while it is a very different set and process for everyone involved, Scott also said it was just good to be back, and she was hopeful that things would keep going since safety was a priority.

“It’s just a very, very different land that we are trying to negotiate but at least we are back and I think we are doing a very good job as far as staying safe. But it’s very strange,” she said.

New episodes began airing on Monday for the soap, and according to CBS, plenty of drama will unfold as viewers revisit the lives of Genoa City’s residents. While Sharon (Sharon Case) deals with her normal following surgery to treat her breast cancer, Summer (Hunter King) will make it clear how she feels about her parents, Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) reuniting. In addition, Adam (Mark Grossman) will be left reeling as he searches for proof that he didn’t commit a crime decades earlier, the Abbotts will be reminded of their history and Amanda (Mishael Morgan) will be hitting the brakes on her romance with Nate (Sean Dominic).

“The Young and the Restless” airs weekdays at 12:30 p.m. EDT on CBS.

the young and the restless The cast of “The Young and the Restless” has returned to set following COVID-19. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS