coronavirus in connecticut

Businesses React to Lifting of Capacity Restrictions

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For about a year, businesses have dealt with various restrictions, and eliminating the capacity is news many say they’re glad to hear. And they hope for more of that good news in the coming weeks and months.

“We actually had our busiest day in a year yesterday,” said Malibu Fitness Co-owner Jack Banks.

At Malibu Fitness in Farmington, machines are in use and classes are in session. It’s been a rough year for gyms, but now Banks says they’re finally getting people back inside.

“Most people are really happy to get back in here, and I think to have the governor make the announcement made them much more confident,” said Banks.

In just a couple of weeks, several businesses, including gyms, will see capacity limits go away. Masking, social distancing, and cleaning protocols will remain. Banks says the news is also a psychological boost.

“As soon as the vaccine came out, we saw the big bump. And we’re expecting a further bump in the next couple of days,” said Banks.

While six feet of distance isn’t a problem for a 200-foot-long facility like Malibu Fitness, other businesses say eliminating capacity caps doesn’t amount to much. J Timothy’s Taverne in Plainville wrote on social media that they’re already maximizing their space as best as they can with the six foot distance required.

But others say the governor’s announcement is good news and a step in the right direction.

“What we did is we invested a lot this past year into dividers. Whether it be at the bar, whether it be in the dining room, the bar room, and so now we’re able to utilize a lot more tables and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests as well as our staff,” said Hartford Restaurant Group owner Phil Barnett.

Hartford Restaurant Group owns 10 restaurants, including Wood-n-Tap. Barnett says while they won’t be able to get to 100% occupancy, it’s going to allow them to have more guests in the building.

Connecticut Restaurant Association Executive Director Scott Dolch says it’s good for customers to know that the governor feels comfortable eliminating capacity limits. And he says they’re continuing to push to move the curfew beyond 11 p.m. as well as continuing talks about the eight person table cap.

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