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Kentuckiana bars and restaurants get creative to celebrate New Year's Eve during pandemic

Bars and restaurants are still under COVID-19 restrictions in Kentucky, but some of them are still planning celebrations to ring in the New Year.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The countdown to 2021 on New Year's Eve will look very different than in years past because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bars and restaurants are still under COVID-19 restrictions in Kentucky, but some of them are still planning celebrations to ring in the New Year.

Like every restaurant and bar in Kentucky, Great Flood in Middletown has to serve at 50 percent capacity indoors and stop at 11 p.m. The change is something they least expected when they first opened in January 2020.

"We had a lot of takeaways from that initial period of time being full open at 100 percent capacity," managing partner of Great Flood, Zach Barnes said. "We're very excited to kind of get back to that point."

Barnes said the Middletown location will open its doors on New Year's Eve at 11:30 a.m. but the countdown to 2021 will start a few hours early. 

"Doing the ball drop and New Year celebrations at 7pm the evening of New Year's Eve and really just kind of doing our part to allow us to celebrate with our customers that have been so gracious to support us through this year," Barnes said. "We'll find a fireworks show to stream through the TV and through the speakers so at 7pm we can have at least a toast to the New Year."

But across the river in Indiana, there is no 11 p.m. curfew. Parlour in New Albany plans to stay open until at least 2 a.m.

"Outside of that it's just basically following the same thing everybody else to keep everybody safe," general manager of Parlour in New Albany, Colton Fields said. 

The location opened a month before 2020. They were planning for a different countdown to 2021 until the pandemic changed everything. 

"We were planning kind of like a blowout party for New Year's Eve but that was of course pre-pandemic thinking or if COVID was going to be finished by the time New Year's came around," Fields said. 

Despite the changes, the NYE celebration will still happen on Thursday – pandemic style.

"We'll be able to at least put New York City on TV and we'll be able to watch that and make sure the volume is turned up so we can all celebrate together," Fields said.