Cold Temperatures, COVID-19 Impact Businesses and Their New Year’s Celebrations

“We go out and take you home with your car,” he explains. “So two drivers will come out, one gets in your vehicle… takes you back with your vehicle home, and the other follows and picks up that driver when they are done. “

But by mid-afternoon, Peters said eight customers had called to cancel their trips.

“(Said) they weren’t going out tonight, either because of the cold or someone getting sick from the holidays,” he said.

In the kitchen at Fhima’s Minneapolis, staff members worked through Friday afternoons and evenings, cooking and grooming for about 150 diners, compared to three to four hundred on a typical New Years Eve.

Safety is a major concern here, for both customers and employees.

“We were planning a disco night with dancing and live music. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the disco, ”notes Fhima. “The tables will remain but the guests will be further apart, so we will leave empty tables between the guests. “

The restaurant has planned new security protocols, including filling a dance floor with tables and setting up private booths and dining areas.

“We impose masks on our staff and now we suggest the recommended masks for our guests,” Fhima said. “Social distancing goes without saying. “

Lush Lounge and Theater requires its guests to present proof of vaccination or a negative covid test.

Face covers are recommended, but not required – and disinfection stations have been set up in various locations.

“It’s exciting but also terrifying in so many ways,” says Andrew Rausch, owner and CEO of Lush. “We take all possible measures to ensure that our customers are safe, as well as our staff.”

Peters says it hasn’t been an easy year.

He had eight drivers who worked on New Years Eve – but says he lost 75% of his employees during the pandemic. Peters says he’s taking precautions too.

“We have drivers who are vaccinated or who are tested and they all wear masks,” he said. “So we follow all CDC protocols for this, making sure we’re safe.”

Fhima also runs the restaurant with a small staff – around 15 people compared to the usual 35.

Partly that’s because of the security protocols, partly because it doesn’t need that many staff, even on New Years Eve.

But Fhima says he’s lucky. Other restaurants, he says, remain closed during this final evening of 2021.

He hopes 2022 will be better.

“I hope we will join hands in other communities, not just in Minnesota, but in other communities across the country and then around the world,” Fhima said. “Let’s work together to fix this problem, and I’m optimistic it will happen.”

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