coronavirus in connecticut

COVID-19 Infection Rates & Variants Alter Restaurant & Event Venue Strategies

Restaurants and event venues are taking a hit as some groups cancel holiday parties amid fears of the omicron variant.

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Four different customers cancelled their party bookings at J Restaurant in Hartford over concerns about the omicron COVID-19 variant.

The omicron variant is having a ripple effect on many industries including restaurants and event venues.

Questions and concerns about the variant have caused some companies to hold off on their workers returning to work and holding company holiday parties.

Jordan Dikegoros is the owner of J Restaurant in Hartford and is now going to the drawing board after four holiday events were canceled.

"It was really disappointing, we've been so geared up, excited to get back to a normal season," said Dikegoros. "I mean to get four large parties cancel on us all within two hours this morning was devastating and we knew something was up."

These cancellations are the latest roadblocks restaurant and event venues have faced.

"Not only do you have the variant but we have a supply chain issue, this is again an issue for all of our industries and also staffing issues," said Jan Jones, the program coordinator for the hospitality and tourism management department at the University of New Haven. "It really is just a big impact on the industry with that business not there, it's extremely frustrating for an industry that relies on these big peak times to not have the business they're expecting."

Wedding and event planners tell NBC Connecticut cancellations are starting to pour into their industry and encourage the public to do their homework when it comes to canceling an event or wedding.

"We are certainly seeing an uptick in cancellations because the events are moving indoors," said Lisa Antonecchia, is the lead designer and planner with Creative Concepts By Lisa Events. "At this time if you are canceling do not anticpate a full refund or refund at all because all the stress that our industry has been through over the last few months."

Connecticut Children's Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. John Schreiber tells NBC Connecticut there a few factors to consider if you're thinking of going to a holiday party or company event.

"I think if you're going to a large New Year celebration indoors, it's a very different situation and that's probably when I wouldn't go but if you choose to go you probably want to wear a mask," said Schreiber.

Schreiber also mentions smaller family holiday gatherings could be okay if those are eligible to get vaccinated have gotten their vaccinations and those who aren't yet eligible to get vaccinated to get a negative COVID-19 test.

"I think if everyone is immunized and two grandchildren are not but they've been tested and they're negative and we all get together in the house, that's probably fine and I think we're in a better place now."