EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Easthampton is rolling back from phase three step two to phase three step one of their reopening plan.

This comes after the city’s Mayor Nicole LaChapelle said the numbers are close to the red risk level on the state’s COVID-19 map.

The mayor wanted to send a strong message to residents that although they’re currently in the yellow, they could easily go up to the red.

“We stayed yellow,” she said. “And now our upper rate is 7.5 which is a scooch below 8. So instead of waiting for it to turn red or to go down and leave it to chance, I wanted to proactively do something.”

LaChapelle said people need to mask up, social distance and wash their hands if they want to get back to normal.

Due to the number of cases going up in her city, she is rolling the city back to phase three step one.

Currently in phase three step two, restaurants and bars can sit up to 10 people per table and at the bar.

But even so, Se7evns Sports Bar and Grill didn’t take advantage of it.

“It didn't really impact us too much because we never really moved forward with the phase they allowed us to just because we didn't want to do the plexiglass thing,” General Manager Courtney Mederios said. “We'd rather just do table service for everyone. It's easier. It's safe.”

Medrios is sticking with safer precautions of limiting seating and not letting customers order a drink at the bar. They want to remain open and not get shut down, and as the weather gets colder, they’re optimistic people will come in and have a beer.

“I think the outdoor places had a really good shot while the weather was warm, and I think the indoor places now are going to get people coming in just because there's not much to do when it's cold out,” she said. “People want to go out and have a good time still regardless of what's going on.”

Some people said they enjoyed outdoor dining during warmer weather, but due to the cold temperatures, they stopped. As of now, they’re not eating inside restaurants. Instead, they’re getting more takeout.

“We ate out a lot more in the summer than we will in the winter,” Florence resident Tanya Hamlon said.

With a spike in cases and the weather getting cold, there is a concern cases could go up with more indoor dining and gatherings throughout the holidays, starting with Halloween. Colleen Brown of Florence said she and her friends plan to have a small gathering of fewer than 10 people for the spooky holiday, mask up, use hand sanitizer and wet wipes, then hand out candy when kids come to the door safely.

“I'm going to put a big table out and in the front and spread it all out, and when they ring the doorbell, I'm going to say grab one candy,” she said. “And I just want to look at their costumes. You don't want to miss that. It's so much fun. Kids love it.”

The mayor of Easthampton is urging residents when they take their kids trick-or-treating to mask up social distance, wash hands, and don’t get tricked by COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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