Struggling Mass. Businesses Await Return to Full Capacity in August

Massachusetts business owners are looking ahead to being able to return to full capacity, but they hope customers will be comfortable coming back

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As Massachusetts prepares to relax coronavirus restrictions, business owners who have struggled through the pandemic are looking ahead to August.

Melanie Walsh has been able to keep her two fitness studios in Leominster and Worcester up and running through the pandemic, but it hasn't been easy.



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"I still look at the numbers all the time," said Walsh, who owns Orangetheory franchises in Leominster and Worcester.

Massachusetts businesses can fully reopen without restrictions on Aug. 1, but some in the tourism industry say that's too late in the summer to bounce back.

She needs the capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements lifted to get more people into classes and membership back up.

"We're not making any money," she said. "Really scrounging around to make it."

News that all restrictions on businesses will be lifted in most of the state Aug. 1 is a good sign, but she hopes people will feel comfortable coming back.

"Those things are really the unknowns of when will life get back to normal," she said. "Even though the government is saying on Aug. 1, that may not necessarily be how the people respond."

If you're outside and practicing social distancing, you will no longer be required to wear a mask in Massachusetts.

Nikia Londy also hopes customers return in bigger numbers.

She owns Intriguing Hair in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood, where she sells wigs and hair extensions mainly for women with hair loss.

Most of her customers are immunocompromised, and they're fearful about venturing in.

"Before the pandemic, most of our business was done in store," said Londy. "Like 90%."

She's hoping that foot traffic comes back once Boston fully reopens on Aug. 22, three weeks later than the rest of the state.

"We'll have a good week, but the next week might be pretty dead, so I get my hopes up and then things start to go back down," said Londy. "I'm hoping things change, but we've been saying that for a while."

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