COVID-19 changing Lethbridge New Year’s Eve celebrations

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COVID-19 changing Lethbridge New Year’s Eve celebrations
As southern Albertans prepare to usher in a new year, COVID-19 is once again forcing businesses and venues to adjust their plans. As Erik Bay explains, those looking to host celebrations are staying flexible, something that’s become a necessity throughout the pandemic. – Dec 31, 2021

The tables and chairs are set up at the Lethbridge Italian Canadian Club, but will remain empty on New Year’s Eve.

What was supposed to be a gathering to ring in 2022 is now a drive-thru dinner, after mounting COVID-19 cases and new restrictions forced the Italian Canadian Cultural Centre to change its plans.

“Everybody was set up and ready to go and now everything has to come down,” club treasurer Lina McNab said. “But we did a drive-thru and it’s working really well.”

Last week, the province announced new restrictions for the hospitality sector, that included a limit of 10 people per table, alcohol service ending at 11 p.m. and that dancing would no longer be permitted, a big hit for club president Lindy Horvath and other members of the club.

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“When people come to the Italian Canadian Club, they don’t always come for the entertainment or the food, they come for the dancing,” Horvath said. “To actually stop them from dancing is like tying their hands behind their back.”

The current restrictions even prompted some events to pull the plug all together, including L.A. Chefs’ New Year’s Eve party.

The Italian Canadian Club said it wanted to ensure people still had a chance to celebrate.

“People that come here — come here regardless if it’s New Year’s but they always look forward to New Year’s — we wanted the opportunity for them to at least get the good food and go home and share it with their families,” Horvath said.

And as plans continue to be fluid heading into 2022 amid the everchanging COVID-19 situation, groups like the Italian Canadian Club will remain flexible until they can welcome their members back in person.

“They just were looking forward to coming back to the hall and coming to events again, so hopefully if things actually go forward and get better, we can do that again,” Horvath said.

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