SWANSEA, Mass. (WPRI) — On Sunday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s step back in phase three went into effect, meaning outdoor events will be limited to 50 people, indoor theaters and performance spaces are closed, and some businesses had to reduce their capacity.
Restaurants everywhere are struggling right now, but for small restaurants like Simply Simon’s here in Swansea, the reduction from 50% capacity to 40% is really making a big difference.
“They were among the things that we considered to be the most difficult to create guidance for around managing spread,” Baker said.
Patrons must now wear a mask at all times, except when actually eating or drinking.
Simply Simons owner Gary Simons says combine that with the fact social distancing only allows him to have about 25 people in his restaurant at a time.
“We’ve already been down about 60 percent. I think it’s going to drop even more than that now because of the masks you got to wear the mask when you’re at the table. And the seating requirements,” Simons said. “It’s way down from what we used to do.”
Simons isn’t as concerned about another new state regulation capping the time spent at a table at 90 minutes.
He’s also grateful for takeout.
But it’s not just restaurants feeling the effects of the state rollback that went into effect sunday.
“Retail stores, office spaces, places of worship, movie theaters and common areas and lodging facilities will remain open, but will be required to operate at 40 percent capacity, allowing for greater distancing,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
There’s no timetable as to when this rollback will end.
The state is looking closely at hospitalization rates as guidance in making their decisions.
If you don’t feel comfortable dining inside right now, restaurant owners are reminding everyone gift cards make great gifts for the holidays and allow them to stay open now, so they’re still open later in a few months when you do feel comfortable again.