Fake countdowns, curfews and early closures: What New Year's Eve in Sask. looks like

·3 min read
Fake countdowns, curfews and early closures: What New Year's Eve in Sask. looks like

New Year's Eve is typically one of the busiest nights of the year for the bar and restaurant industry, but for 2020 it remains a challenging time.

Public health orders in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 are limiting how much patrons can celebrate.

Champagne — and all other alcohol — will have to stop flowing at 10 p.m. due to a curfew on sales. Singing to Auld Lang Syne or kissing your crush at midnight is out of the question as patrons will have to leave by 11 p.m.

Instead, business owners are hosting fake countdowns so they can lock their doors all before the stroke of midnight.

10 per cent capacity party

Last year, the Capital Music Club in Saskatoon sold 300 tickets to its New Year's Eve event. This year it's sold two tickets.

"[We] made $10,000 last year. This year we will make $500," said Mitchell Lupichuk, who co-owns the Capital Music Club.

"We're at 10 per cent capacity so we can only have 30 people in the building instead of 300."

Saskatchewan's public health order limits dancing, and all licensed establishments are limited to seat four at a single table.

"It sucks, it's not great, but it is what it is," Mitchell said.

He says New Year's Eve is no different than what his industry has faced all year as revenue remains on the decline.

"For the last nine months we've been consistently down about 90 per cent even with all the changes we made like adding breakfast, to try to keep going," Mitchell said.

"It's tough when the government tells you to stay open as a business, but then tells your customers to not come out. So I don't know what you're really supposed to do."

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Those celebrating privately are also restricted to who they can ring in the new year with. All private gatherings are limited to immediate households only, and single people can meet with one household.

Evraz Place is hosting a drive-through celebration as a way to "burst into 2021" with fireworks and a movie. Restaurants throughout the province are offering special take-out menus, and Tourism Saskatoon is promoting hotel and restaurant packages for a special New Year's Eve staycation.

A New Year's Eve tribute to front-line workers

The province isn't just celebrating the welcoming of 2021, but paying tribute to the front-line workers who helped everyone get through the year.

The Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation and first responders are encouraging Saskatoon residents to make some noise for essential and front-line workers.

At 7 p.m., residents will be banging pots and pans and cheering to thank health-care workers, teachers and those who work in retail.

"This is a chance for everyone to not only celebrate and thank our essential and front-line workers, but also ring in the New Year with lots of noise and gratitude," foundation CEO Arlo Gustafson said.

CBC News Graphics
CBC News Graphics

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