Capacity restrictions in Massachusetts to loosen Monday

Massachusetts News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — The Big Game usually brings big crowds at bars, but with capacity limits due to COVID-19, some bar stools had to be empty Sunday. That will change Monday.

During last year’s Super Bowl, Christopher’s Tavern in Springfield was filled. With no capacity limits, everyone was able to gather around. Sunday night, it was just up to 25% of the capacity.

Starting Monday, gyms, retail businesses, and hair and nail salons can increase their capacity to 40%. For establishments without an official maximum occupancy level, the maximum will rise from five to eight people per 1,000 feet. Workers and staff do not count toward the occupancy cap for restaurants and personal services.

Governor Charlie Baker says the increase is thanks to improving COVID-19 numbers in the state.

“Super Bowl Sunday is kind of coveted by a server. You know we look forward to it. It’s a big money day,” said Megan Fenn, a server at Christopher’s.

There are now plexiglass dividers at the bar and the booths. A lot has changed in the last year.

“A lot of businesses have closed and we’re fortunate that we have our regulars and we’ve done as well as we have,” Fenn told NEWS10’s sister station in Springfield.

One offering that has really helped with sales during the big game is takeout options. “As a tavern, we’ve been able to do a lot of business even if we’re not able to be at the capacity we’re allotted,” Fenn said.

Fenn also said that hundreds of wings were ordered for the big game, and while they went out in to-go boxes, Monday will be a new day with new rules. “When the restrictions change, it’s exciting. So a lot of people are coming out. They’re a little nervous so they pick a place that’s close to home that they’re familiar with,” Megan said.

There will still be limits on gatherings and the travel advisory will also remain in effect.

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