CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Bars across Massachusetts underwent complete makeovers earlier on in the pandemic so they could remain open. Some adding kitchens to be compliant with state guidelines. But the latest changes indicate they will no longer have to do.
Atlas Pub and Kitchen in Chicopee was one bar that saw renovations in order to operate.
“Bars can open, without serving food, it takes a little bit of load off our back,” said William Herchuck owner of the Atlas Pub and Kitchen.
Despite the financial burden of the pandemic, Herchuck been in the business for 40 years. Prior to COVID, Atlas was just a pub. But the reopening plan had bars across the state not permitted to open until Phase 4.
Herchuck, like many Massachusetts bar owners, had to adapt and invest thousands to become an eatery or stay closed.
“We were shut down for a good 5 months and before we could reopen we had to install a kitchen,” said Herchuck. “It’s a shame when you see people who have been in this business for this amount of years suddenly close their doors and not reopen.”
As of May 29th, Governor Charlie Baker’s latest guidelines in the reopening plan will no longer require bars to serve food. Herchuck says it’s a relief, but the kitchen isn’t closing anytime soon and it’s thanks to his customers.
“I have very good patrons here,” said Herchuck. “It’s going to stay open, most likely will only stay open for lunch hours. We are seeing mostly a lunch crowd and it’s a hit or miss on which days are busy and which days aren’t.”
For the busy summer season, Herchuck told 22News that he hopes restrictions will be lifted on businesses well before the August 1 goal of the state.