‘It’s a great step in the right direction’: Restaurants, gyms, and aquariums react to capacity restrictions being lifted


WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Two weeks from today capacity limits at restaurants, gyms, and many other places will be lifted. But will that actually mean more people will be allowed in?

Filomena’s in Waterford has been creative in trying to keep people safe. They have moveable barriers, touchless menus, and have been operating at fifty percent capacity. 

Two weeks from today that capacity restriction will be lifted at restaurants, gyms, and aquariums among other places.

Related: Gov. Lamont announces plans to lift some COVID-19 restrictions related to capacity levels, travel restrictions

“The sense of safety but also freedom I think is really starting to happen,” said owner Mike Buscetto, who is happy to see it.

Some restrictions will still remain in place like dining rooms will still have to close by 11 o’clock, you’ll still have to wear a mask, and tables will still need to be 6 feet apart. 

For some restaurants with limited space that means they won’t be able to increase capacity but at Filomena‘s they have two banquet rooms where they’ll be able to seat more people.

“Thankfully I have the space,” said Buscetto.

“I think symbolically it means a lot,” said Mike Shapiro, V.P. of Operations for Planet Fitness. “It’s a great step in the right direction.”

Planet Fitness will continue with its same safety protocols, like keeping some machines closed so members stay six feet apart and extensive cleaning, even after the governor’s new order takes effect March 19th. 

They haven’t had any coronavirus spread across their gyms and they want to keep it that way.

“We actually set our own capacity limits,” said Shapiro.

“Overall I feel comfortable and safe working out here for sure,” said gym member T.J. McBride. “And I’m excited for the capacity to be expanded.”

So are folks at Mystic Aquarium which has been at fifty percent capacity.

“We’ve all been waiting. It’s finally here and we’re just excited,” said Larry Rivarde, Chief Operating Officer at Mystic Aquarium.

They too will keep the same safety protocols in place like reserved ticket times to avoid bigger crowds.

“We’re different from most aquariums because we have a huge outdoor portion that really affords us the opportunity to bring in more guests and have a much better guest experience,” said Rivarde.

Especially if Juno has anything to say about it. The popular Beluga whale continued to engage and entertain visitors Friday afternoon.

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