Extended COVID-19 restrictions hitting small restaurants particularly hard

Coronavirus Local Impact

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On Thursday, the Baker-Polito Administration extended their current COVID-19 restrictions through to January 24th, after originally setting the potential end date on January 11th.

The restrictions originally put a 25% capacity cap on most businesses. That limit is even tougher on businesses and restaurants with originally smaller capacity limits.

22News spoke with the owner of Little Georges, a 12 year old breakfast and lunch restaurant specializing in ham, in West Springfield. Due to the restrictions, they’re only allowed 15 customers in at a time.

“This was great before the pandemic. Now things are just challenging. Customers have been really great about waiting in their cars and we call them in when someone leaves,” Little Georges owner, Costas Anamisis told 22News.

The current restrictions also require customers to wear masks when not actively eating and limit dining times to 90 minutes. Little Georges went even further and capped theirs at 30 minutes to get in as many customers. But the system isn’t perfect. Anamisis sits at the front door counting people every day.

“I have my staff all working. I did have to cut some hours for the waitresses but we’re making it work,” Anamisis said.

He also put up moveable barriers at the counters along with semi-permanent ones on the booths.

Anamisis says doing just take out at the beginning was awful, the outdoor tent was great but now they’re plugging along. Throughout all of the challenges, the owner is thankful for his loyal customers.

“Thanks for coming in and helping us out and dealing with this with us,” he said when asked what he would say to those who support his businesses.

The continued limits are until January 24th unless extended further by the governor.

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