Businesses switch up New Year’s Eve plans as omicron cases climb

Some businesses are pivoting and changing New Year’s Eve plans as concern over the omicron variant grows.

Just to name a few, The Armory and First Avenue will not be welcoming guests this year because of COVID concerns. Other businesses said they are cracking down on COVID protocols to ring in the New Year safely.

“I’m hoping to see excitement and a community coming back to a very fond place,” Lush Lounge and Theatre co-owner Andrew Rausch said.

Lush has been empty since March of 2020. The start of the pandemic marked the end of business. New owners are giving it another shot, but COVID is still sticking around.

“It’s exciting, but also terrifying in a lot of ways. We are taking every measure possible to make sure our patrons are safe as well as our staff,” Rausch said.

Lush is kicking off opening weekend with a New Year’s Eve party that’s already sold out.

“We do have a reduced capacity, 50%, to make sure we’re providing social distancing,” Lush co-owner Jared Lawrence said.

The ticket to get inside is proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test. Face coverings are highly recommended, not required.

The owners said keeping up with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the main priority.

“Knowing it seems to change every week, it’s staying aware of what the recommendations are,” Lawrence said.

At Can Can Wonderland, rolling with the punches of the pandemic has been the norm. The most recent blow was canceling the New Year’s Eve party after several employees tested positive for COVID-19.

“For a year and a half, we tried to be ahead of the game and pay attention to what’s going on,” said Tony Perella, Can Can Wonderland director of operations. “It’s always heartbreaking. We love to support our artists, support the community and have these events and these shows.”

Officials said canceling the bash is the best option to avoid the worst-case scenario, spreading COVID.

“Doing the right thing totally is more important than having one big blowout each year,” Perella said.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to a handful of other businesses who say they’re leaving it up to patrons to do what makes them feel comfortable.