Boston’s nightlife scene returns with masks

After a mostly maskless summer, Boston’s partygoers are now required to mask up at the city’s nightlife venues, restaurants and other indoor spaces for the first time– with mixed success. “Our guests are well-educated, especially here in Southie. They’re all either college students or graduates, and everyone is very receptive,” said Jonathan Maneri, assistant general manager at restaurant and club Capo. “It felt like a normal Friday night.” He added that people mostly remembered to wear masks, and staff are well-trained to tell those who forget to mask up in a “hospitable” way. “Some of them actually have the designer mask or Gucci mask … and it was kind of cool, especially with the black lights too. A very unique kind of dance party,” he said. Restaurateur Chris Coombs said his staff saw similar mask adherence at the four-star French restaurant Deuxave and the restaurant and nightclub dbar this weekend. “People are so well-trained at this point on how they need to behave when we roll things back that we didn’t meet any resistance,” he said, adding that guests generally prefer to sit outside at both restaurants. Other venues experienced some difficulties getting customers to mask up. “People before the restrictions were used to seeing plastic partitions and having to sit and those kinds of things,” said Bill Keasley, manager at the popular club and karaoke bar Hong Kong in Boston. “Now they only change the mask, and so they take it off and they forget, and we have to remind people a lot. It’s definitely more work for the house.” He added that the night was slower than usual at first, which he said could be because of the new mandate, but those who came remembered to bring masks. “(When) dancing, sometimes people forget. (They) take it off when they’re talking, people have to be reminded frequently,” he added. Although Keasley acknowledged the extra work for staff to enforce the mandate, “if you can save even one person, it can’t be bad,” he said. At another popular Faneuil Hall-area spot, Sissy K’s, a bartender who answered the phone said it was hard for her to enforce the mandate by herself Saturday afternoon. “If there’s one person behind the bar, which is me with my mask on, I can’t really — people can’t even hear me back here cuz it’s like, loud,” she said. “If a table that’s 40 feet away is going to the bathroom, they just kind of go to the bathroom.” Although she said employees are conscientious about masking up, she’s observed so far that “people are over it, and they don’t care.” Both the Boston Police Department and the Boston Licensing Board, charged with enforcing the mandate, reported no issues Saturday, and “the City is currently focused on education and guidance, working with business owners, operators and residents to make sure they understand this order now that it’s newly in effect,” a spokesperson for the city said.

Boston’s nightlife scene returns with masks

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