Going to a bar or restaurant to watch Super Bowl LV Sunday? Don’t get too comfortable. You may have to leave midway through the game.
Under the state’s social-distancing and capacity limits, seated table service must be limited for each party to 90 minutes or less.
Most of the bars and restaurants contacted by the Herald said they plan to abide by that limit, even if it means forcing customers to leave around halftime as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Unfortunately, that’s how it is,” said Luis Luna, general manager of Tony C’s in Boston’s Seaport district. “It’s a different Super Bowl this year; the experience is going to be split up.”
“New Englanders will go to great lengths to watch their sports,” he said. “They’re always trying to double-book to try to circumvent the system. But we need to do our part to keep people safe.”
But Adam Kretowicz, manager of the Yard House near Fenway, said he won’t abide by the state’s restriction on Sunday.
“We’re not going to kick people out,” he said. “We feel with the Super Bowl, everyone is going to stay for the whole game. And the Yard House is known as a fun place to gather.”
The Yard House will abide by the state’s other restrictions, including its 25% capacity limit, Kretowicz said. But he added: “We’re going to be packed tomorrow. We took only 1/4 of what we can take for reservations because we wanted to leave room for walk-ins. We’ll be turning away people as it is.”
A spokeswoman for the state COVID Command Center did not return an email asking whether the state plans to enforce the seating limit Sunday.
Jessie Lewis, assistant manager at Tavern in the Square’s North Station location, said she’ll honor the state’s 90-minute limit.
“I hope people accept that and understand that we want to be hospitable, but we’re also running a business,” Lewis said. “All of it’s different. Last year, we’d be open until 1 a.m.; this year we’re closing at 11 p.m. We’re walking over a bridge to a new normal.”
Although Tom Brady no longer plays for the New England Patriots, there’s still a lot of local interest in Sunday’s game because the legendary quarterback and former Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski now play for the Buccaneers. Brady is trying to win his seventh title after six championships with the Patriots — but the Chiefs, last year’s winners, are shooting to repeat, led by young star QB Patrick Mahomes.
Restaurants around the state will see restrictions relax a bit further come Monday, when they can open up to 40% capacity, rather than 25%.