Capacity limits raised for restaurants, other hospitality businesses

The Scott administration announced Friday that as of June 26, restaurants, entertainment venues and other hospitality businesses will be able to open their doors to more people.
The new rules set the cap for indoor establishments at 75 people and outdoor operations at 150 people, or 50% of their total capacity — whichever is less. Under previous guidance, capacity was capped at 25% of their approved fire safety occupancy.
Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development Lindsay Kurrle said that while the lifting of capacity restrictions won’t “make the hospitality industry whole,” officials hope it will lift some of the pressure on businesses.
“The hospitality industry continues to be one of the hardest hit,” Kurrle said. “Capacity limits and quarantine requirements are making it hard for them to reopen, and in many cases restrictions do not allow them to operate in ways that make ends meet.”
Requirements to encourage physical distancing between guests remain in place. There should be at least 100 square feet between guests, which is, Kurrle said, “approximately the length of a cow.”
State officials hope that the higher capacity limits coupled with guidance from the state that allows more quarantine-free travel from certain counties outside of Vermont will help hospitality business get on their feet.
“When paired with weekly updates to the cross state travel map, we hope a path to profitability will continue to emerge for a world class hospitality industry,” she said.
The agency also released guidance for Fourth of July fireworks displays. When done as drive-in events, where social distancing can be followed, they are permitted, Kurrle said.

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