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Restaurants Make Changes As COVID Cases Surge In Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS) – With new COVID-19 variants emerging and new mandates ahead, restaurant owners in Massachusetts are shifting gears just to survive.

"Right now, with Omicron we're a bit nervous just because it spreads a bit faster," said Christiana Kapsaski.

She is nervous about the spread and all the uncertainties COVID-19 brings to the restaurant industry.

Kapsaskis has owned Taso's European Café in Norwood for 14 years and decided Monday to close down their dining room once again to protect her staff. "Right now, we strictly are takeout. There's no indoor dining at all," Kapsaskis told WBZ-TV. "I'm scared of bringing the virus home."

It's a necessary shift to keep the lights on and the doors open.

Beginning January 15, the city of Boston will require proof of vaccination to get into restaurants and bars.

Brato Brewhouse and Kitchen in Brighton began checking vaccination cards Wednesday – ahead of schedule. "With the spike that we're seeing now, it just made sense to take action now and not wait until the fifteenth," said owner Jonathan Gilman.

But even those measures aren't enough for others.

Bar Lyon in Boston's South End announced they'll be serving up their last meals on New Year's Eve, closing permanently citing supply and staffing shortages. "I think people know we're in a tough spot. There's no right or wrong answer to a lot these things," said Gilman. "We're just trying to make the best decision we can."

While others embrace the challenges, launching a business amid new mandates.

Frankie Stavrianopoulos celebrated the grand opening of Wich + Craft in Boston's North End just three weeks ago. When asked why he decided to open up now, he said, "Because I'm crazy! No, I mean, there was uncertainty. There is uncertainty, but we have a love for this business."

It hasn't been the big comeback most in the industry were hoping for and relying on but there's hope.

"I'm hoping for the better. 2022 will definitely be better for everybody," said Kapsaskis.

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