Baker announces plan to sign pandemic outdoor dining extension

Baker announces plan to sign pandemic outdoor dining extension
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 10:50 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - It will be a busy weekend in Springfield as the MassMutual Center hosts several big events including a concert, two Thunderbirds games, and a sports cards and memorabilia show. These will bring in a lot of business to the downtown area and some restaurants even having to turn customers away.

The weekend comes as Governor Charlie Baker announced Friday that he’s signing legislation that will extend pandemic rules and make it easier for cities and towns to allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining - something many businesses downtown have already taken advantage of.

“We’re just excited that the city is coming alive again,” said Rita Caputo-Capua, manager and owner of Red Rose Pizzeria.

Business is booming in downtown Springfield as more events bring traffic to the city.

“There’s just a ton of stuff going on in the city. It’s really, really been great for us. It’s bringing people downtown. The restaurant is always packed and we’re just loving it,” said Caputo-Capua.

This weekend will be especially busy at the MassMutual Center as the arena hosts a Babyface concert Friday night, a Thunderbirds game Saturday and Sunday, and the New England Card Show on Sunday. Local restaurants told us business has been good over the past couple months, but on Friday, it was exceptional.

“We have turned away more people that we have served this far. It’s amazing,” said Nadim Kashouh, owner of Nadim’s Mediterranean Grill.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the city was nice enough to build us the outdoor space and to get us through the toughest times, so we’re very excited to have some warmer weather and people sitting outside,” said Keith Makarowski, General Manager and Co-Owner of Theodore’s Blues, Booze & BBQ.

As the weather gets warmer, things begin to open up again, and mask mandates are lifted, businesses told us they’re excited for the resurgence of downtown Springfield.

“We already have our plans in motion as far as the patio…It’s always a huge success for us. Last year, it was a great success being with the COVID, people want to stay outside,” said Kashouh.

The T-Birds take on the Belville Senators Saturday night just after 6 and again on Sunday in a sensory-friendly game. The MassMutual Center also plays host on Sunday to the New England Card Show starting at 9 a.m.