Richmond nightlife considers return to normal capacity

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After the capital city’s nightlife scene shuttered Q1 of 2020, restaurants and entertainment venues got creative; cocktails to-go and pod-style concerts aimed to keep establishments afloat.

But news that Virginia capacity limits would end May 28 ushered in optimism that returning to normal operations was imminent.

“I’m so excited,” Lucas Fritz, owner of The Camel and The Broadberry said Monday following Governor Northam’s announcement Friday about the capacity roll back.

Fritz hopes the seemingly distant past of sell-out concerts will soon be revived at the end of the month.

“The social distancing aspect will have gone away, so we can allow for individual tickets, bar service, general admission ticketing,” he said.

Fritz acknowledged The Broadberry will continue outdoor, socially distant, concerts on tap for the summer, and the fall season will likely welcome gigs back at their indoor event space on Broad Street.

However, not everyone is as eager to welcome wall-to-wall patrons, and customers.

Business owners have acknowledged they will rely on the honor system that maskless people are fully vaccinated, as vaccine ‘passports’ will not be required.

“This is a little uncharted territory for us all,” Bar Manager at Sticky Rice, Zach Newbright, said.

The restaurant, no stranger to late night service in The Fan neighborhood, will take a slower approach toward regular capacity.

“We have decided that we will be doing a slight, limited capacity from what our legal capacity is. Obviously we are going to play it by ear,” Newbright said of the decision after determining some staff may not be comfortable with the clustered environment.

Health experts, and Northam say businesses can move at their own pace, and with their own requirements for masks and capacities. All the while, pushing Virginians to get shots, so businesses don’t have to make these decision in the first place.

”It’s very simple, it’s either a shot or a mask. It’s up to you,” Northam said in a prerecorded video Friday, announcing the eased restrictions.

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