Massachusetts restaurants to begin seating 10 per table, using bar areas for food service


BOSTON (WPRI) — Last week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced changes intended to help restaurants, who have faced severe restrictions to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Restaurants can now seat up to ten people at a table instead of six, and they can use their bar areas to serve food. Patrons still will not be allowed to stand and drink at the bar.

Even though tables can now seat four more people each, they still must remain six-feet apart.

For some restaurant owners, this is a welcomed relief, particularly as we enter the cooler, eventually colder months when outdoor dining won’t be an option anymore.

“The bartenders will have a better season in the winter with us being able to open the bars again, you know, within reason, so that’s good for us and for them because a lot of people that come here want to sit at the bar,” Judy Brown, General Manager of The Cove Restaurant and Marina, said.

Some restaurant owners are choosing to keep their capacity the way it is. The problem for some is that they’ve already converted their bar area into a dining area, and changing it back could cost them.

“We’re torn between actually having bar seating or keeping the tables the way they are,” Bobbi Holmgren, from Barrett’s Waterfront Restaurant and Lounge, said. “Right now I have three high tops pushed up against the bar and I can fit seven people at each high top I don’t know that I can fit seven people socially distanced together.”

“People want bar seating because they haven’t had bar seating, but is it best for the business financially right now?” Holmgren continued.

Some cities in the Bay State, like Worcester, Boston, and Framingham, have also chosen to keep restaurant capacity as is due to COVID-19 numbers in their areas.

Guests may also choose to stay away from the restaurants and cities that do expand out of concern over increased crowds.

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