BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) – Burlington’s nightlife got a big shot in the arm Wednesday as the city’s bars were permitted to open again. Andrew Araneo came out to Akes’ Place with his roommates, who were all quite eager for a night out.
“We were excited,” Araneo said. “I mean, a big part of it is that we know a lot of people that work here, so it was nice to see them working again. And also, we spent a lot of time here before the pandemic started, before all of that; it’s just getting back to a routine, really. It’s nothing new.”
As an avid sports fan, one customer calling himself ‘Malibu Bud’ also didn’t want to waste any time jumping back into a routine.
“Well, I’m glad that we can see the Final Four, at least,” Bud said. “Last year, we missed everything, and I really wanted to see it. I just love all sports, especially up here in Vermont.”
The restrictions on bars, pubs and taverns have to follow include physical distancing of six feet or more, wearing of masks unless eating or drinking something and limiting capacity to half of the pre-pandemic norm.
“We’ve closed off all bar seating; we no longer have bar service,” Akes’ Place security manager William Spencer said. “We’re actually acting as waitstaff, so we’ll come around and take orders. We’ve added tables into the establishment so that we can keep everybody seated, keep distance so that nobody is milling around in the open space.”
Bud said he is fully vaccinated and recently spent more than a week vacationing in South Padre Island, Texas. “Everything was open, and it seemed almost back to normal,” he said. “It was as close as you’re going to get. And being vaccinated, I was fine.”
However, not every venue is jumping at the chance to open. An owner of a different downtown Burlington establishment told NEWS10’s sister station in Burlington on Wednesday afternoon that his bar won’t be able to open until at least next week. It’s experiencing a staffing shortage and other issues.