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Restaurants nearing 75% capacity shows owners progress with more to go

Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 18:41:04-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The announcement that all restaurants outside New York City can operate at 75% capacity, one that is giving a boost to many restaurants around Western New York.

"It was well welcomed and I look forward to opening up more and getting more freedoms," Jimmy Butera, owner of Butera's in Hamburg, said.

These capacity restrictions are strictly for indoor dining. The 75% capacity can only work when tables are either six feet apart or dividers are set up. So, if a restaurant cannot have dividers, their capacity can not change.

"Without the dividers our 50% capacity is truly a 20% to 30% capacity," Butera said.

The restaurant capacity announcement, which takes effect March 19th, Butera says, is a good sign. For spaces reliant on bar service and bands or DJ's, it's still not the announcement some were hoping for.

According to Venu manager Tim Walton, their business is still waiting for the food with alcoholic drinks policy to change, in addition to the six foot table separation rule. To Walton, until those change, he doesn't see capacity adjustments turning his business around.

"It's essentially like saying you can go skydiving, but without a parachute," Walton said, "it does absolutely nothing with the regulations that are in place."