‘We’re going back to what we were doing before’: Massachusetts nears full reopening

BOSTON — Restaurants, bars and clubs across Massachusetts are getting ready to ring in a new beginning and say goodbye to life as we knew it for the last year and a half. Some establishments are preparing to host patrons at full capacity starting on Saturday despite the current staffing shortage.

VIP tables are selling out for big club nights in the Theater District, including Royale, this weekend. The club is also seeing a high volume of people buying tickets in advance.

“I foresee this comparison to something like a prohibition end,” said Jamison LaGuardia, the VP of Sales, Operations and Events at Royale Entertainment Group. “They want to tell their kids in 20 years that they were there when the lights went back on in Boston.”

LaGuardia said Royale Entertainment Group is still hiring but that about 75% of the staff working this weekend are returning employees. He said the atmosphere will be similar to pre-pandemic times with added excitement.

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“We’re going back to what we were doing before,” LaGuardia said. “This could be kind of the flip of a switch and people mentally go back to where it was.”

Royale Entertainment Group is shifting to a ‘mask recommended’ policy this weekend but won’t be requiring face coverings. Other clubs and bars Boston 25 News checked in with are planning on implementing a similar protocol.

“Especially with Boston being locked down so much longer than the rest of the country, we’ve had enough,” said Connor Morenzi of South Boston.

Establishments across the city are also gearing up for the first weekend of live music with singing.

“We’re going into a weekend that I’ve been dreaming about for more than a year,” said Kali Stoddard-Imari, a Boston-based musician and performer.

Stoddard-Imari said performing virtually has lacked an interactive component that musicians like himself thrive on.

“I think Boston is going to get a little bit of its spirit back,” Stoddard-Imari added. “It feels like a huge weight lifted off the shoulder.”

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