By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) — At Douzo Modern Japanese restaurant in Boston, it’s far from business as usual, but CEO Jack Huang has been staying positive throughout the pandemic. “End of the tunnel there’s a light for us so we will hang in there until that comes up,” he said.

Some of the coronavirus restrictions that were put into place back in November are being lifted on Monday, meaning restaurants like Douzo no longer have to close at 9:30 p.m.

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“It’s giving people something to look forward to. In the past, they say, ‘I need to home by 9:30,’ now it’s a little different, now it’s ‘I can go in at 9 o’clock or 8:30,’” Huang said.

For a while, the latest reservations at Douzo were at 7 p.m.

Huang has been in business in the Back Bay for 15 years. This is no doubt the most challenging time of his career.

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“We got shut down, no fault of our own and we have to pay full rent. It’s very difficult. It really wears you down, especially for small independent restaurants like us. We don’t have a thing to fall back on. Our employees rely on us,” Huang said.

While the state’s early closure order for businesses and stay-at-home advisory will be lifted, the 25% capacity limit will remain until at least Monday, Feb 8. The restriction is still a challenge for restaurants.

“So many businesses and restaurants are failing because 25% percent capacity, they’re not going to survive so we like to support local businesses,” Douzo patron Charlie Crovo said.

Huang thanks his customers for sticking with him and he said will keep his grills running hot, knowing that better days are ahead.

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“We will continue to be here for you, for the community. We take one day at a time. We always believe there’s a better tomorrow.”

Paul Burton