It's another altered New Year's Eve for Hamilton, as events and venues change plans
What do you do on New Year's Eve when your city can't stay open past midnight?
This year, many venues, event planners and residents in Hamilton and surrounding areas are asking that question.
Mid December, Ontario changed COVID-19 restrictions to limit social gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outside. It also announced many indoor venues would have a 50 per cent capacity limit. (Thursday, spectator facilities, concert venues and theatres were added to that list, effective Friday).
Bars and restaurants can't be open past 11 p.m., presenting a dilemma in the face of New Year's Eve celebrations.
Some places around and outside the city remain open for New Year's Eve events, while other venues have plainly chosen to cancel events due to safety.
One pub, Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, has coming up with one solution.
Its manager, Graham Carter, said that the pub is lining up a British New Year's Eve and will celebrate ringing in the new year in time with England.
The pub plans on live streaming English television, and will make a toast at 7 p.m. ET, which is midnight in London when Big Ben rings in the New Year.
"We're a British pub," he said. If you can't celebrate New Year's in Canada being in a British pub, why not celebrate Britain?"
With the stressful rise of the Omicron variant, Carter said the objective is to "make people feel like it's actually a new year" and to "give people a bit of joy."
Patrons can be served alcoholic beverages until 10 p.m. and will be allowed to stay in the restaurant until 11 p.m., when restaurants are forced to close for the night.
Much of the pub's downtime is at the start of the year until April. Keeping Olde Angel Inn open for New Year's Eve is crucial for business, Carter says, making it hard to shut down right now.
"We need to get as many people as we can… this is our kind of last kick at anything," he said.
The decision to shut down indoor service temporarily or indefinitely has plagued many other establishments and event planners in the area as well.
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