SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- It has almost been one week since capacity restrictions lifted for Massachusetts restaurants, and many in western Mass. have been seeing a drastic change in business after this weekend.

Local restaurant owners told us this weekend was a turning point for them. They said people seem to feel safer about going out to eat.

"We do see more people going out, and with more capacity available, we can sit more people now," said the owner of West Springfield's Crazy Seafood, Eddie Chen.

West Springfield's Crazy Seafood

(Western Mass News photo)

The business was booming for local restaurants this weekend, just days after capacity restrictions lifted for restaurants across the Bay State.

"With more capacity, they don’t need to wait an hour or two hours during a dinner rush," Chen noted.

With no capacity limit in place, tables still need to be six feet apart, and customers can only dine for 90 minutes. But Chen told Western Mass News the weekend rush was finally back.

"I think more and more people after taking vaccine shots are more comfortable to go out now," he added.

Christopher's Tavern generic

(Western Mass News photo)

Over at Christopher's Tavern, owner Christopher Arillotta told Western Mass News it feels good to see things moving in the right direction.

"It was good, very positive. A lot of people are starting to feel more comfortable coming out, especially with the vaccines distributed," Arillotta said.

He also said capacity requirements are no longer required, which means residents are starting to plan and book banquet rooms.

"We can have more people in there so we can have banquets. We had a baby shower this weekend, and more people are starting to book for graduations," he said.

Arillotta said he’s pleased to see the drastic change in his business and hopes people continue to support local restaurants.

"There’s some sense of normalcy. It’s not where it should be, but you can see people are a little more confident and comfortable," he added.

Both owners told us, with more business, they can start hiring more employees. The state plans to move to Phase 4 Step 1 on March 22, which will allow fans at sporting games and indoor venues to open.

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