SWANSEA, Mass. (WPRI) — Beginning today, many Massachusetts businesses will be limited to 25% capacity to help curb an anticipated increase in new coronavirus cases after the holiday.
“It’s a terrible thing,” said Tammy Noons, owner of Harvest Tap and Table in Swansea, as she braces for what the next blow to her business will mean for its future as 2021 approaches.
Just recently, she added a bar area to the restaurant, changing the name from Harvest Market to Harvest Tap and Table.
But due to Massachusetts restrictions, she can’t use the bar area.
Now, with just 25% capacity allowed, she said they’ll be down to fewer than 20 customers eating in the restaurant at a time.
“We’ve only been open five years so I’ve put my heart and soul into this place and it’s just hard. It’s very hard.”
Since November, she said she’s seen a drastic drop in business, with 75% of it switching to take out.
“God forbid I lose this place, I told my mother, ‘mom I might have to come live with you’. It’s terrible you think about that at 50 years-old, you’re going lose everything you’ve worked so hard for.”
It’s not just restaurants impacted by the Commonwealth’s newest two week restrictions.
Most indoor businesses including retail, theaters, close contact services, gyms and places of worship also are reduced to 25% capacity, aside from the number of staff.
Indoor gatherings are capped at 10 people, with a maximum of 25 outdoors.
Nonessential and elective surgeries have also been put on hold until January 10.
However, help is on the way for small businesses, in the form of $668 million total in state funding.
“Funding will be available in grants of up to 75-thousand or three months of operating expenses.”
Lt. Gov Polito explained that eligible businesses can start applying for a new grant program opening up on December 31.
That money is being sent out right now to those who have already applied for a similar existing relief program.
The latest round of restrictions is set to last for just two weeks, but the owner here and many others are concerned it’s going to last much longer than that.