coronavirus in connecticut

Local New Year's Eve Celebrations Changing, Canceling as COVID Surges

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The countdown is on until 2022, but the surge of COVID-19 cases is changing plans.

The organizers of First Night Hartford are happy to once again host their New Year’s Eve tradition in the Capitol City after it was virtual last year.

But Wednesday, they made some changes as Covid cases surge.

“We started off with 12 indoor venues for the 12 intentions for the year. We’ve reduced it down to 7 -- the venues that have the best ventilation and best ability to do social distancing, so we’re excited we still have indoor venues available, but the weather is going to be amazing on Friday,” said Taneisha Duggan, a creative producer for the event.

The event is requiring masks be worn both in and outdoors.

In New London, The Oasis Pub has closed for the remainder of the week, which means they won’t be throwing their New Year’s Eve party.

“A few of our bartenders at the Oasis tested positive in the last few days, and just added precaution, you know, we thought it would be best to just kind of take a week off,” said Sean Murray, manager of the Oasis Pub and The Social Bar and Kitchen.

He says down the road The Social Bar and Kitchen is keeping their party plans on, but all servers and customers are required to wear masks.

“Like any restaurant I guess nowadays, we just have to figure out as we go along,” he said.

The Max Restaurant Group knows the feeling.

But despite the increase in Covid cases, Scott Smith, the vice president and chief operating officer of the group. says folks are still looking to make New Year’s Eve reservations.

“Demand is very high. You know, we’ve got one or two locations where we’ve actually held back reservations because we’re not sure how much staff we’re going to have and we’ll assess that day,” Smith said.

This, as the group, like many other restaurants and businesses, juggles the schedules of employees who are out sick.

“We have groups of employees who have either tested positive or they're showing symptoms, so we’re being very cautious and removing them from the restaurant immediately,” said Smith.

A similar situation with cast members shut down a New Year's Eve show at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven. The announcement about the “First Night of Funny” show was made Wednesday.

“We’re just rolling with the punches. Unfortunately, with what's happening,” said Peter Damien Loza, Shubert Theatre General Manger.

This is the second show canceled there this month.

“The producers of the show have decided to cancel out an abundance of caution for their cast members, the crew, our theater staff, and most importantly, our audiences,” said Loza.

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