New York State to lift capacity restrictions, business owners say it won’t make a difference

State News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Monday, Governor Cuomo announced what he called a major reopening of New York State.

Starting May 19, the tri-state area will lift most capacity restrictions. But in its place, Cuomo says businesses must still maintain social distancing rules.

“We do err on the side of safety. The CDC keeps the six-foot social distancing requirement and that is still in effect. So our capacity restrictions are subject to the six feet.”

Because of this, some business owners we spoke with say the lifted capacity restrictions mean nothing to them.

“People will call me on the phone and say ‘well, isn’t your capacity increased?’ and I’m like no it’s not, our capacity isn’t increased at all because of the six-foot rule,” said Jason Hall, owenr of Sportsmen’s Tavern & The Cave.

Right now Sportsmen’s Tavern is open at 27-percent capacity. Hall says that will have to remain despite the lifted restriction due to the size of the music venue.

“You’re not making any money in any business when you’re operating at 27 percent.”

Paul Santora owner of Santora’s Pizza Pub and Grill says in order to increase capacity at his restaurants, he would need to purchase plastic dividers.

“How anybody could assume that keeping a table or a guest six feet apart in increasing capacity helps, it really does not. It doesn’t do anything for us unless you’re willing to spend money and I don’t think anybody at this time has the money to spend.”

Most capacity restrictions come to an end May 19 and although the business owners we spoke with say this guidance won’t impact them, other thing like lifting the curfew and not requiring a purchase of food with alcohol will be beneficial to their business.

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