Bars and restaurants face difficult decisions as Omicron concerns rise: to cancel or carry on with New Year's Eve parties

NOW: Bars and restaurants face difficult decisions as Omicron concerns rise: to cancel or carry on with New Year’s Eve parties


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- New Year's Eve is a busy night for many bars and restaurants. But for a second year in a row, growing COVID-19 concerns are challenging businesses. Many have been faced with the dilemma of canceling their New Year's Eve party or carrying on. 

Safehouse, a Marcus Group restaurant, is one place that has decided to stay open. The group will continue to follow CDC guidelines and and the increased safety measures it put into place when it reopened in June 2021. 

Safe house, a Marcus group restaurant is one place that is staying open for its popular Cheers Heard Around the World New Year's Eve party. The restaurant will be following the same strict safety protocols that it started after re-opening in June.

"We're taking it very seriously. we want to make sure we're taking care of everybody," said Safehouse General Manager Nicholas Dillon. 

After closing their doors for 14 months, and canceling their 2020 New Year's Eve celebration, Dillon says sanitizing and masks have worked for the Safehouse.   

He said the response from customers has been excitement. 

"We're selling a lot of tickets, it's going to be a lot of fun, there's going to be a lot of people here having a good time safely," said Dillon. 

New Year's Eve at Vino Third Ward is also still on. Management says they've already sold about 80 percent of their tickets for the night.

Other places have had to close their doors for the celebratory year-end. 

Some because of staffing shortages and others out of an abundance of caution, as the Omicron variant causes a rise in cases across Wisconsin. 

For Lakefront Brewery that means no New Year's Eve Friday Fish Fry this year-- a night that is usually very busy. 

"Having the beer hall packed with people, not such a good idea," said Stodola. 

Lakefront has decided to close its doors not just for the night, but for the week. The earliest the restaurant will reopen is Monday, Jan. 3. 

"It wasn't necessarily a difficult decision but one we felt was necessary," said Michael Stodola, brand manager at Lakefront. 

Food and Beer can still be ordered to-go. 

Other places still having parties include Potawotami Hotel and Casino and The Pfister.

Dubbel Dutch and the Mitchell Park Domes have canceled their New Years Eve parties. 

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