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Local Restaurants Welcome Full Capacity, but 6-Foot Spacing Makes It Impossible for Some; More Changes on the Way

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The Pasta House
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Frutti di Mare at The Pasta House in Fairhaven.

New state guidelines went into effect Monday allowing restaurants to serve at 100 percent capacity — if they can keep tables six feet apart or separated by a barrier.

At Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, chief operating officer Mario Mariani said seating at full capacity still isn’t possible for his restaurant, but he’s glad to see things moving forward.

“What changes is the attitude and the confidence of the dining public,” he said. “That, I welcome.”

Restaurants can also have live music, if they’re willing to devote the space.

Some say that won’t be practical until it can happen outdoors.

On Martha’s Vineyard, at the Little House Cafe, owner Brook Katzen said he’s not making changes right away; for now, he’ll continue to do takeout only, because his indoor space is small and customers appreciate a cautious approach.

A bigger change is coming in three weeks.

Restaurants that have function rooms or do catering now have their eyes set on March 22, when capacity limits for event venues rise from 10 people to 100 indoors, and from 25 to 150 outdoors, effectively reopening that business.

Mario Ribeiro, owner of The Pasta House in Fairhaven, said that means jobs coming back.

“For our catering business, that's big, you know?” he said. “Like, we had to lay off every single person that does catering for us, including our catering manager ... She just came back today. So it's big for us, getting some people back.”

Dance floors will be allowed for events, but nightclubs remain closed, as do bars that don’t serve food.

Gathering limits in private homes remain at 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.