Pandemic surge sheds doubt on boost from New Year’s Eve at restaurants

ORLANDO, Fla. — With COVID-19 cases on the rise and the New Year’s Eve holiday just one day away, it’s been a rollercoaster ride for many restaurants, most of which are still trying to recoup losses from the pandemic.

Restaurants like Maxine on Shine are getting ready and hoping for a boost in profits.

READ: Third COVID-19 testing site opens in Orange County as Florida reports almost 47K new cases

Owner Kirt Earhart says they are expecting nearly 100 people, but they are hoping for more.

But Earhart and others are afraid COVID-19 may keep the crowds away.

“We’ve lost many reservations over the last week because of it,” Earhart said.

With the rise in cases of the latest variant, Earhart said they are taking extra precautions to keep people safe.

WATCH: Central Florida hospitals beginning to feel omicron surge

Capacity has been reduced, and barriers separating the tables and at the bar will help encourage social distancing.

“We’re looking to make sure that everybody feels very good,” Earhart said. “Doors are going to be open throughout the night and keeping nice distance between tables.”

READ: Here’s where you can find COVID-19 testing in Central Florida

Although visitors might not see crowds like in years past, many restaurant owners are still keeping their fingers crossed.

See more in the video above.

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Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.