NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — As more people get vaccinated, the struggling restaurant industry is ready to welcome back its customers.
“It feels really great. I mean they’ll never go back to whatever normal is but it feels like we can move on,” Patrick Fleming said.
Fleming’s last visit to the Progression Brewing Company in Northampton was to celebrate his 70th birthday, back in February 2020. And now, he’s finally back, sitting on the patio as if the pandemic never even happened.
The patio is just one of a few things Taproom Manager Avery Lee Skibel hopes they can keep, but its not the only way to stay afloat.
“People are now comfortable inside unlike last season. So if it’s too hot, too cold it starts to rain. People aren’t afraid to sit indoors,” Skibel said.
With both indoor and outdoor dining keeping the tap busy, Progressions, like so many other restaurants, is finding it hard to build up staffing.
Isaiaah Clark started at the brewing company three weeks ago. “I was actually working through the whole pandemic. I was doing like take out and stuff at the other restaurants. I switched to here because it’s closer to my house and I’m a fan of the beer here so that helps,” Clark said.
A 14 month whirlwind, looking like it could come to an end.
“I’m grateful that I got to experience it because it has definitely prepared me for anything, really has,” Skibel said.
Next Saturday, May 29, comes with its own changes, capacity limits will return to normal and there will be no cap on gathering limits.