Restaurants and bars cut New Years celebrations

“They are happy during this time of relief to still have events, knowing that they are smaller than they traditionally would be. It’s just the reality of where we are right now ‘

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New Years celebrations will be a little different in Calgary this year, but some local watering holes and restaurants are delighted to be able to accommodate them.

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The CRAFT Beer Market in downtown Calgary had big plans – including live music, dancing, and other celebratory efforts – but the health orders that went into effect on Christmas Eve on Christmas Eve. have forced them to reduce their spending.

Still, it’s a great advantage to just be open and to have the ability to celebrate in one form or another.

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“Around this time last year, we were all getting comfortable on our couches and celebrating New Years Eve from a distance,” said Tyler Rygus, vice president of marketing for CRAFT Beer Market. “We’re always happy to be able to do something in person, but obviously with the new restrictions in Alberta we have to adjust some of the program timelines as well as some of the restaurant’s programs. Looks like.”

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Health ordinances prohibit dancing and other activities that encourage meetings between guests. The province has also capped table sizes at 10, while prohibiting people from walking around with drinks or food in hand and chatting with patrons at other tables.

During this time, the last call is obligatory at 11 p.m., the premises must be closed at 12:30 p.m.

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When it comes to New Years Eve, this is problematic when all the build-up is at midnight, usually with dancing, hugs, and champagne toast.

Rygus said they will likely ring in the New Year with the East Coast, although no specific time has been set between the various franchises.

Not all establishments felt so good about being open on New Years Eve.

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Prairie Dog Brewing scrapped most of its plans, which staff had spent months working on, when the new health orders came out last week. They have canceled their shows, buffet, photo booths and other activities. They will always be open but have a regular dinner service.

According to Lisa Korolyk, their event host, around 50 tickets were sold for the festivities, with the expectation rising to 150 with a traditional post-Christmas wave.

The change of plan has been a bitter pill to swallow for Jay Potter, executive chef and co-owner of Prairie Dog Brewing. This is just the last in 22 frustrating months for him and others in the industry. He’s not ready to hope if he’s still open Friday night.

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“We are all still very concerned about what is going to happen,” he said. “It’s been two years now that I think there’s a bright side to come and this could all be over, and wave after wave after close after close it’s really starting to bother you.”

Jay Potter, co-owner of Prairie Dog Brewing, poses inside the restaurant and brewery.  They had to cancel the organization of their New Year's celebration due to health restrictions.  Thursday, December 30, 2021.
Jay Potter, co-owner of Prairie Dog Brewing, poses inside the restaurant and brewery. They had to cancel the organization of their New Year’s celebration due to health restrictions. Thursday, December 30, 2021. Photo by Brendan Miller / Postmedia

December is a critical month for the restaurant and bar industry, which typically capitalizes on party shoppers and private event bookings for the holidays. The season is traditionally closed with a final push on December 31, a night that Potter says typically brings in $ 15,000 to $ 20,000 for the brewery. It is a necessary cushion for professionals, as January and February are usually the slowest months of the year.

“We haven’t been able to really capture that financial stability this month,” he said. “Not having that little December pillow is definitely going to put a lot more pressure on a lot of restaurants, not just ourselves.”

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The hotel industry has also pivoted this year. Most hotels don’t have paid public events to ring in 2022, but many still have private reservations for their invitation-only ballrooms.

Sol Zia, executive director of the Calgary Hotel Association, said their members have stepped up precautions for these events, focusing on communication around new health orders. Many also added to their tests for events.

The pursuit of private events is huge for the industry with the cancellation of other events such as the Mac’s Midget AAA hockey tournament and Calgary Flames games over the holidays.

“They are happy during this time of relief to still have events, knowing that they are smaller than they traditionally would be,” Zia said. “It’s just the reality of where we are right now.”

[email protected]

Twitter: @ JoshAldrich03

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