After months of self-imposed isolation, quarantines and government-mandated social distancing, area people are ready to get out of their homes and go out to eat and play and do everything else that a spate of warm days might inspire.
With curfews lifted and other state restrictions on indoor dining and recreational gatherings eased — and more and more people getting vaccinated — area residents are, well, not exactly throwing caution to the wind but are venturing out to enjoy themselves.
Christine Roane, vice president of human resources and administration for Big Night, which operates CBS Sporting Club and Scorpion Bar at Patriot Place in Foxboro, says business is picking up, helped in large part by patios opening.
“We do feel with more vaccinations that more people are willing to dine,” she said in an email, but added “we are still very limited in our business volumes due to the 6-feet restrictions.”
“We are also anticipating the removal of additional restrictions,” she said. “….We are expecting Patriot Place to be busier and stadium events to return and we need to be ready.”
Andrea Metell, the night manager at North Bowl Lanes on East Washington Street in North Attleboro, says that since the state eased some of its restrictions on indoor gatherings, the business has been able to go back to using all its lanes.
While the bowling venue reopened in July, patrons were restricted to alternate lanes. Now, under the latest phase of the state’s reopening rules, all 40 lanes are open — although management makes sure that while one lane is in use, the patrons the next one over can sit down and eat.
And, Metell says, the business enforces mask wearing by bowlers with “a friendly reminder.”
This has been a good week, especially on cooler or rainy days. Those, she says, “bring in the customers,” and she noticed an uptick in patrons at the start of the week, which is spring break for local schools.
At the Mad Moose Saloon in downtown North Attleboro, co-owner Ceil Weeman says “business has been picking up steadily right along.”
While the state has lifted capacity limits for restaurants, other rules, such as social distancing 6 feet apart, a maximum of six people at each table and 90-minute limits on eating times, will remain in place.
Even so, people seem to want to experience indoor dining once more. At the Mad Moose, Weeman says, that’s meant encouraging people to make reservations, something the small eatery hasn’t done before.
“That’s been a little bit of a learning curve for us,” Weeman said. “But it’s been working out for us.”
The business also plans to offer outdoor dining again — as many local restaurants did through the summer and fall — once town officials permit it. “It made the town look very decorated and dressed up,” Weeman said.
And while there may not be more gamblers at Plainridge Park Casino, they seem to be making up for their numbers by playing more slot machines.
In March, the latest month for which figures are available, the Plainville gaming site saw its best take in revenues since before the pandemic, even though attendance was well below the 40% of capacity allowed.
The revenue take was $12.2 million, according to figures released last week by the state, nearly $2.7 million ahead of February’s revenue of $9.5 million. That’s the best month the slot parlor has had since August of 2019.