Local Bars Ring In New Year With COVID-19 Safe Celebrations

Thursday, December 31st 2020, 9:43 pm

As 2020 comes to an end, like everything else this year, New Year's Eve isn't the same, but some bars are still hosting celebrations.

The year has been quiet for neighborhood bars like Empire near 15th and Peoria.

"It's been 50 percent or less, especially with the 11 o'clock curfew," said bartender Larissa Darnaby.

Darnaby said they hosted New Year's Eve, but shook it up a little with social distancing, masks, plexiglass dividers and no more champagne toast.

"We are planning to stay open until 2 a.m. We're a neighborhood bar that does not see a lot of traffic," Darnaby said.

A pending lawsuit gives bars a grace period to stay open past the governor's 11 p.m. curfew without consequences.

Over at Mercury Lounge, the plans are to give people an option. General Manager Bobby Orcutt said they were hosting a concert capped at 30 people with masks required and also streaming it live on Facebook.

"If it's controllable and feels safe we might stay open until midnight," Orcutt said.

Amber and Jessica stopped in for a few afternoon drinks before the crowds and plan on staying home tonight.

"This is our home," said Amber Andros. "We have so many memories at Mercury Lounge."

Owners at Mercury have planned a unique way to bring in 2021: an opossum drop.

Many bars have canceled New Year's Eve events like Enso and IDL Ballroom downtown.

News On 6 asked viewers on Facebook what their plans are. Catherine says, "a small group of 6 at their home… We are frequently around each other anyway."

Brian said, "I'm staying home and staying up to watch 2020 die."

A hearing on the bar lawsuit was delayed until Jan. 8 and ABLE has said they won't enforce an 11 p.m. restriction until a judge decides.