New rules create more challenges for Massachusetts businesses

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) — Governor Baker brought Massachusetts back to Phase 3, Step 1 starting Sunday, and local businesses are already feeling the impact.

Shorty’s Pub in Fall River, usually a local favorite on football Sundays, is now much quieter.

“Honestly, it’s very scary,” said Kevin Verissimo, whose family owns the restaurant. “I remember coming in and having a full house and everybody’s happy, going strong. And now I come in, especially on a day like today, and there’s maybe five or six people here.”

Capacity, normally 60 at Shorty’s, has been reduced. No more than six people are allowed at a table, and they must wear their masks the whole time – except while eating and drinking.

Customers can dine for 90 minutes, and must be out the door by 9:30 PM.

Also, no musical performances allowed.

Some customers say it’s difficult, but necessary.

“I think it’s a small price to pay to get through this,” said Bob Arsenault of Fall River. “I think as long as the businesses are trying to keep things clean and going by the rules, I think we’ll get though this.”

Others say it goes too far.

“I don’t think that these regulations they’ve been put under are very fair to them,” said a customer who goes by the name Hathaway. “So I support them in every way I can.”

Some feel there’s too much of a burden on small businesses compared to big box stores and corporations.

“You show your support for these people you really love because they look after you,” said Mary Feitelberg of Fall River. “Struggling so hard, while they’re swilling champagne in the suites of corporate America.”

“It’s starting to hurt big time,” said owner Aguinaldo “Shorty” Verissimo. “And I’d like to see some more help from the government as far as grants, funding. You hear it’s going to bigger corporations instead of the little guy. When does the little guy get his hand in that pot?”

Verissimo says they aren’t currently set up to do takeout, but may now have to consider it if the situation worsens for them.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News, Regional News