PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — New Year’s Eve is here which means it’s time to party, well, normally it would be.
Rhode Island COVID-19 restrictions will keep events small this year, if they are happening at all.
Current guidelines include restaurants at 50% capacity, with bar areas closed and a closing time of 10 p.m.
With gatherings limited to those you live with, only one household is permitted per table at restaurants as well.
Michael Mota owns Skyline at Waterplace, traditionally home base for one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the state, but tonight it is sitting empty.
“It’s going to be a complete loss,” Mota said. “We are not even open at all.”
Other restaurants say they’re going to try to make it work.
Rooftop at the Providence G usually has four separate New Year’s Eve parties, but this year will only have one dinner.
Some restaurants say they are planning to stay open after 10 p.m. tonight, but will stop their service of food and drinks at that time. State guidance does allow for customers to finish their food or beverage that has already been served to them.
The R.I. Department of Business Regulations (DBR) say they will have a full force of team members surveying statewide to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are being enforced.
“We want Rhode Islanders to have an enjoyable and safe New Year’s Eve, but we must remain hypervigilant in our fight against COVID-19, and that means fully following the rules,” DRB Director Liz Tanner said.
R.I. Department of Health (RIDOH) Director Nicole Alexander-Scott advised residents to not gather with anyone outside their household for the holiday, but instead plan a virtual countdown to midnight.
“If you go to a crowded, indoor gathering where there are people you don’t live with on New Year’s Eve, there is a chance that you will either catch or spread COVID-19,” Alexander-Scott said. “Protect your household by only gathering with the people you live with on New Year’s Eve.”
If you do see people from outside your household the RIDOH suggests you get tested for COVID-19.
Officials also remind residents to not drink and drive.
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