Eastern CT small businesses, restaurants prepared for New Year’s Eve celebrations to look different amid pandemic

New London

EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — Businesses in East Lyme are getting ready for New Year’s Eve celebrations that are expected to look a lot different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some businesses say they’ll be busy while others just cannot wait for 2020 and this pandemic to be over.

This is the busiest time of the year for Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme. Christmas Eve saw long lines of people picking up fish for their holiday meals.

“Actually started from outside on the deck, went out through the door, and down through the other dining room and into here,” said owner State Senator Paul Formica, (R) East Lyme, who has been in business for 37 years as of last week. 

He says New Year’s Eve is the largest lobster day of the year.

“There’s probably 500 pounds in these two tanks here,” said Sen. Formica. 

This boom is business is welcome after a year of trying to adapt during a pandemic. 

“The meal numbers have been down. Catering, of course, has been nonexistent. The liquor: no bar room activity so that’s been nonexistent,” said Sen. Formica “But we made up for it in fresh fish sales.”

Foxwoods Resort & Casino is ending the year with big giveaways and virtual fireworks for a New Year’s Eve focussing on fun and safety.

One business that really didn’t suffer at all during this pandemic is Mermaid Liquors in Niantic. But owner Susan Kumro says New Year’s Eve will look a lot different this year.

“If it’s anything like Christmas it’s going to be more small orders than large orders,” said Kumro. “People aren’t having parties.”

Still, she says holiday sales have stayed the same, and starting in March she saw a big boost especially during the summer in this shoreline town.

“So we’re normally busy but I was twice as busy so it’s been a little tiring,” said Kumro. “But it’s been good so I have no complaints.”

“We can take a lot of the lessons from 2020 in terms of how we have to create and develop new solutions to problems,” Sen. Formica.

Some new safety measures implemented this year at Flanders included finding ways to seat people safely apart and filter out 99 percent of the bacteria in the air including the coronavirus.

“For 2021 I’m hoping people can gather and have parties and be healthy because it’s affected friends of mine,” said Kumro. 

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