Wedding venues, catering halls and restaurants are seeing changes in pandemic restrictions this week

News 12 employees

March 15, 2021 at 5:52 p.m. EDT

Updated on:March 15, 2021 at 5:52 p.m. EDT

In the catering halls, pandemic restrictions will be eased this week, while other businesses will see welcome changes in the coming days and weeks as well

Farmingdale event planner Mario Simone says it has been a nightmare since its business, Hart to Hart Entertainment, was stopped by the pandemic.

“The bills are stacked, the credit cards are full. We want to go back to work,” says Simone.

His request will be answered because indoor wedding venues and catering halls can increase the capacity to 50% with a maximum of 150 people from Monday. And for the first time dancing is allowed.

But dancing at weddings will also be different. Each table is assigned its own dance capsule, which is marked by a square on the floor. And the pods are spaced every 6 feet to make sure different groups don’t mix.

Masks and physical distancing are required, and everyone must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Michael Lessing operates 16 wedding venues on Long Island and said he would have to lay off most of his employees at the height of the pandemic. Now many of them are being hired again.

“This is a really good start to a really tough year,” he says. “We are very excited to be returning to a semblance of real weddings.”

In the meantime, the restaurants will be occupied from 50% to 75% on Friday. And from next month the indoor venues will reopen with a maximum of 100 people.

With new, more contagious varieties spreading, some doctors wonder whether the state might reopen too soon.

“We want to get through this. We don’t want to point the ball on the five-yard line,” says Dr. Leonard Krilov of NYU Langone Hospital Long Island.