MILWAUKEE — Over 24 hours away from 2022, while many businesses have decided to cancel parties and close their doors out of an abundance of caution, others are working to still provide a safe place to celebrate.
As the new year approaches, many local celebrations are still on the agenda. Online, dozens of venues hosting events each with varying measures, from mask requirements to staggered entries to proof of vaccination requirements. Among them, On the Bayou in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville neighborhood. It's New Years event will go on they say after taking significant safety measures.
"We got a lot of Lysol spray, we got disinfectant, people come out the bathrooms and things, we’re in there, spraying stuff down, we’re trying to make sure that everybody that comes here is safe," said chef Gregory Johnson.
Johnson says while he’s excited to have people come and enjoy live music, he’s willing to sacrifice a full house to make the few people who can make it out feel as safe as possible.
"We understand that the COVID is on the rise and things like that, but we’ve taken all precautions because our place can hold up to a 170 people, but we’re cutting that down to sixty," Johnson said.
"So we’re definitely seeing a trend with an increase in COVID activity in our communities," said Dr. Beth Griffin.
Griffin says it’s best those considering celebrating with others best protect themselves from infection with the vaccines available.
"The biggest message we have to the community as they’re getting ready to celebrate, number one is for people to be vaccinated so that is our most powerful tool that we have against this virus," Griffin said.
And as they plan to bring in the new year, Johnson says the celebration at On the Bayou won’t go too far into the night.
"We’re not going to be here all night," Johnson said. "Once the thing strikes 12:01 and around 1:30, 2 o’clock in the morning, we’re gone. We’re not going to be here until the wee hours of the morning."
A toast to what they hope will be a safe celebration and 2022.