Restaurant owners in Northampton welcome loosened restrictions despite challenges

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Both servers and restaurant owners tell 22News they’re glad things are starting to get back to normal, but hiring has been a challenge.

Still, nice weather and more vaccinations are bringing people to places like Jake’s. The place has been open since the pandemic started. Carrie Merrit attributes that to the support of their customers.

“[They] have really continued to do take out when they weren’t comfortable coming into the restaurant,” said Carrie Merritt, a server at Jake’s. Not all restaurants were able to survive the pandemic including Webster’s Fish Hook. Now, it’s being converted into a pot shop.

Packard’s took a different approach. Closed during both surges, the owner of 43 years said it was costly. Now he’s worried about construction set to begin next month in the parking lot across the street.

“People usually find places to park, but it’s not going to be convenient to anyone. It could really hurt but you don’t know until it happens,” said Bob McGovern.

Outdoor dining is now a staple for both Jake’s and Packard’s but starting Saturday, another player is entering back into the ring with its own outdoor dining set up, Sylvester’s. Bob at Packard’s said if there is any comfort in this tough year, it’s that the challenges his business faces are challenges everyone is facing.

“It’s the whole world. It’s not just Northampton, Massachusetts or Springfield or Holyoke,” he said.

Bob is looking forward to signing up for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund through the Small Business Administration.

Registration for the portal begins Friday. Click here to learn more.

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