But accommodating parties of up to 10 people is still a question mark. “It’s a good thing for some places I think if they have a big location,” Provincetown restaurant owner Paul Fanizzi said. “I want to make sure my staff’s comfortable.”
Some Outer Cape restaurants are taking advantage of updated state protocols for coronavirus restrictions that allow them to accommodate more diners inside.
As of Monday, Oct. 5, restaurants in the state are allowed to use their bar seating for regular food service, with appropriate distancing in place. The state has also raised the limit on party sizes of diners to 10, up from the original six people or less.
Mac’s Fish House in Provincetown will use its bar to accommodate about 12 patrons sitting six feet apart at a bar that holds about twice that amount, owner Mac Hay said.
“Seeing empty seats at the bar is always kind of a downer, so I think it’ll add some life to the restaurant,” Hay said.
While Hay believes the change is positive, he hopes that diners understand that the bar seating is for food service only, it doesn’t mean that bars are open business as usual.
“We don’t necessarily want people coming into the bar and bellying up and hanging out all night,” Hay said.
Frequenting bars and nightclubs for drinks only — with no food served — will be allowed in Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan, which Gov. Charlie Baker has said will not occur until there is an effective treatment or vaccine for the coronavirus.
At Fanizzi’s, also in Provincetown, the new regulations with bar food service will allow the staff to serve about six more people in total. Paul Fanizzi, the owner, is currently working to buy more supplies to set up the bar for dinner service, which includes 30-inch-high plexiglass between diners.
“After Nov. 1 when we get the outside seating taken away, anything inside is going to help,” Fanizzi said. Currently the outside seating gives the restaurant 70 more seats.
As the summer dwindles down, Fanizzi hopes more people will take advantage of indoor dining, or at least keep his business steady through takeout orders.
“We’re not going to have that extra flow (from outdoor seating) and hopefully more people will be comfortable to come in, because a lot of people don’t want to eat inside yet,” he said.
As for the increase in party size, many restaurant owners will be sticking to the six-person limit, as they have already set up their dining rooms to accommodate small parties.
“I’m not going to reconfigure my dining room to potentially accommodate parties of 10, there’s no need,” Hay said. Instead, the restaurant will have a few areas where parties up to 10 can be accommodated, but it will not be every table inside.
Fanizzi’s will also stick to six people to a table, as their inside area is small and already set up for tables of six with barriers in between.
“It’s a good thing for some places I think if they have a big location,” Fanizzi said. “I want to make sure my staff’s comfortable.”
The Wellfleet Bookstore and Restaurant will not be updating their dining room at all to account for the updated regulations, as owner Carol Parlante will be sticking with maximum parties of six and no bar seating.
“It’s up and down,” Parlante said of the regulations. “I’m not changing anything right now.”