In 2020 – the height if the covid19 pandemic – there were no major parties or events planned at hotels to bring in the New Year. Newsday reported on December 31 last year that hotels had no major events planned and bars were expected to close promptly at 10 pm, in keeping with the public health regulations at that time.
This year – although not on the pre-pandemic scale – some dinners are taking place, along with light entertainment, where people can bring in 2022.
Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Lady Young Road, Port of Spain, will host one of those dinners. In e-mail responses, hotel staff said it will host a special buffet dinner in its Herbs and Spices restaurant and will also have an all-inclusive cocktail lounge reception at its new Sky Deck.
While there will be live entertainment for dinner and a DJ for the cocktail reception, there will be no form of dancing, the hotel said. Its restaurant and Sky Deck are safe zones and all guests must show their vaccination cards and ID on entry. They will then receive identification showing their vaccination status, it said. “We are doing fine,” one of the hotel’s representatives said when asked about how bookings have been going.
The country’s safe-zone initiative was implemented in October, allowing restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres, private members’ clubs, gyms and fitness studios, waterparks, gaming houses and betting pools to open for fully-vaccinated people. These businesses were shut during the lockdown.
The businesses are also required to show their TT Safe Zone certificates, comply with all of the safe-zone rules, not allow in over 50 per cent capacity, ensure all employees are vaccinated and have copies of the employees’ vaccination cards on the premises.
Patrons must be fully vaccinated and have proof of vaccination and one photo ID on them at all times, the Safe Zone rules say.
At Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, people can enjoy a grand dinner buffet at its Waterfront Restaurant. Its Facebook ad said there will also be live music plus a selection of seasonal plates and a complimentary bottle of wine (for two).
When contacted, the hotel said it was a safe zone and will follow all safe-zone rules and regulations.
Some hotels will offer stay-in packages with their New Year’s Eve dinner.
Runway Hotel, Golden Grove Road, Piarco will offer an all-inclusive package allowing its guests to check in on December 31 at 3 pm and check out on January 1 at 12 pm.
The packages include drinks and meals specials and the guests will be treated to a live performance by soca artiste Shal Marshall as they welcome the new year.
Its restaurant supervisor Carlos Sookoo said packages are for only vaccinated people, adding that the hotel was trying to limit walk-ins because of the safe-zone requirement of 50 per cent capacity. Sookoo said there will be no dancing. He said the hotel has 39 rooms available and has 20 bookings so far.
In Tobago, the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort at Tobago Plantations Estate, Lowlands, Tobago, will only have dinner at its safe zone restaurants. General manager Vinod Bajaj said music will be played while guests are dining. There will be fireworks at midnight for guests staying at the hotel.
Bajaj said bookings have been slow or nominal.
The dinner will be hosted from 7 pm-10.30 pm, and he said the hotel’s bars will be open till late, as it is a safe zone.
Mount Irvine Bay Resort, Grafton Road, Scarborough, Tobago, is also offering packages for people to ring in the New Year. Its Facebook page said guests can get packages per couple which will include two nights’ accommodation and a gourmet New Year’s Eve platter for two. all with social distancing and safe entertainment.
In San Fernando, Bottles and Bites, London Street, St Joseph Village, invited people to dine in with them and receive a complimentary glass of wine between 12 pm and 8 pm.
Checks on the social media pages of various other restaurants and hotels in south Trinidad did not indicate if any dinners or events will be held for New Year’s Eve.