Will lifting capacity limits make a difference for local restaurants?

Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT
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SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York will soon be lifting limits, releasing restaurants from capacity caps. But will it make a difference?

On Monday, Governor Cuomo said restaurants can return to full capacity on May 19.

That may sound good in theory, but at restaurants with small dining rooms, like The Battlefield Eatery, the rule won’t change much.

“I would say they’re not really impacting. We only have so many seats anyway so we’re already okay with capacity. I think it’s more of the restrictions on everything else that puts a damper on our restrictions here,” said Jessica Williams, The Battlefield Eatery owner.

By getting rid of capacity limits, but keeping the 6-foot social distancing requirement, even the largest dining area, like at 3 Willows Event Center, still can’t let more people in.

“Realistically, our main hall can fit 500-600 people, but with social distancing, we can only fit 150-200, so it really hasn’t changed much to be honest with you,” said Ashley Galligan, 3 Willows Event Center venue coordinator.

Though loosening the capacity won’t do much in the way of allowing more customers, restaurant owners say it will at least ease some of their worry.

“Every time something gets lifted, it’s like, oh, okay. We were starting to kind of do that anyway, now it’s more comfortable to do it without, oh, do I have to count heads at the bar, does that kid count,” said Williams.

They say any progress toward normalcy is a good sign.

“We’re just staying hopeful. We are moving forward,” said Galligan.

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