Already struggling, local businesses required to rollback on reopening plans

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker is once again rolling back the state’s re-opening plans.

This includes stricter mask requirements and smaller capacity limits. Once again, restaurants are bearing the brunt of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. We’re told that it’s not surprising and this is just one more thing to survive.

Customers will now have just 90-minutes to dine in a restaurant. You’ll also have to wear a mask at all times, even while seated at your table unless you are actively eating and drinking.

Many high-risk communities like Springfield have been following Phase 3 step 1’s guidance, so the statewide six-person table limit is nothing new. But, a slow winter season is something new and these restrictions just add to the stress and disappointment of that.

“With symphony and the Thunderbirds Christmas parties, holiday parties all those are done so right now we kind of sustain what we have and hopefully it can carry us through to the spring,” said Nadim Kashouh, owner of Nadim’s in downtown Springfield.

Baker also reduced capacity for gyms, retail stores, offices, and houses of worship. He’s encouraging workplace mask mandates and the closure of break rooms, saying these steps are necessary after the “disturbing trends” of COVID cases.

“With the rate Massachusetts residents are getting infected and the rate at which they need medical care, if all continues to move at this pace is simply not sustainable over time,” Gov. Baker said.

State officials say these closures will last until the number of hospitalizations stops rising.

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