Wichita businesses adapt party plans to safely ring in 2021

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 will look a lot different this year.

“Bowling is a fun thing to do and people like to do fun things on New Year’s Eve. So, we’re usually a hot spot,” said Brent Bowers, Northrock Lanes general manager.

Any other year, all the lanes inside Northrock Lanes would be packed.

Rolling with the punches of the pandemic, they are adapting their plans to spare all the business they can.

“We’re dramatically reducing the number of our party packages from 144 down to what will be 36. Thirty-six party packages, but they’re larger packages. So, instead of buying one lane, you’ll buy two lanes. You can have up to 12 people in your space, but then, there will be two lanes to the left of you, two lanes to the right of you,” Bowers said.

Northrock Lanes is not the only business with limited space.

“Right now, we can only have about 20 people in our tasting room at one time. So, this event is already 60% full,” said Jennifer McDonald, Jenny Dawn Cellars owner and winemaker.

Sedgwick County’s curfew causing many businesses to jump into the new year early.

“We are doing Times Square and Dockum. So, we’re celebrating on New York time,” said Ariel Moore, Experience Curator at the Ambassador Hotel.

“We’re going to be celebrating New Year’s Eve across the world. Instead of focusing on when New Year’s Eve hits here in Wichita, which obviously we know we won’t be open at that time. We’re gonna do one every hour,” said Kelsey Rockett, Chicken N Pickle general manager.

Businesses hoping to give some joy to end a rollercoaster of a year.

“People are still excited to get out and celebrate socially distanced,” Moore said.

“You know, a sense of normalcy. Last year, we did a huge New Year’s Eve party. Obviously, we’re not able to do that this year, but we can still have fun,” Rockett said.

Many businesses say their spots are already filling up. If you are hoping to get a reservation for New Year’s Eve, you’re encouraged to act quickly.

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