Restaurants ready to safely ring in the new year

Local News

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Restaurants are open this year for New Year’s Eve, but not without cancellations from diners who are concerned about COVID-19.

One of the state’s largest party venues is ready! The Aqua Turf in Southington’s ballroom is set for 900 guests.

“We’ve had numerous phone calls today where people were begging us not to cancel,” Bobby Thompson, Aqua Turf’s manager said.

New Year’s hats and fine china are in place, done safely.

“Tables are much more spaced out for social distancing,” Thompson said.

They had 50 people cancel but 40 called last-minute.

In a normal year, they would host close to 2,000 revelers. Ninety-five percent of the staff are fully vaccinated and all staff wears masks.

In Simsbury, the romantic Millwrights will host 300 guests. Tyler Anderson, the owner of Millwrights, said some have canceled, but he’s not worried.

“Like I said, I have a waiting list of 200 people, so it’s good for us that we’re able to call and fill those spots right away,” Anderson said.

They are offering five courses and a spectacular view from these bridge “train car” booths. For some on New Year’s Eve, they can have their own greenhouse. It is heated, it’s private, and they can have it for the entire night.

“It gives people who are still being very cautious an opportunity to eat basically the safest way possible,” Anderson said.

Scott Dolch the executive director of the Restaurant Association said his industry is seeing January holiday parties and events down, but owners are taking every precaution.

“You’re coming out with people that you know, you’re saying you’re sitting at a table with people that you know, you’re having that experience. You should feel safe in our restaurant,” Dolch said. “Staff is going to do everything they can to make you feel really warm and comforting, and have a great experience, and enjoy looking forward to 2022.”

2022 is a new year and a new opportunity to reset the table.

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