ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New Year’s Eve is this Friday, and like last year, many are dialing back plans.

The City says it has no big gatherings planned instead, City Hall is hoping Rochestarians celebrate at the local bars and restaurants, ‘that could use the support’.

For many restaurants and venues, they plan on big occasions like New Year’s Eve to boost sales. But like last year, it’s more of the same.

After almost two years, Ross Mueller who owns the restaurant ‘Native‘, says things are slowly getting better for business. “We’re definitely seeing an increase in customers willing to come out,” he says.

Even with COVID cases skyrocketing, he says people feel at ease in a spacious place like this. But for those big holiday money-making events, not so much.

“…You’re still seeing those large Christmas parties and group gatherings that are canceling like they did last year,” says Mueller.

A lower level of staffing is also a hurdle. They’ll still be throwing a soiree, albeit toned down, nothing like New Year’s Eve 2019– but they’re ready to make it memorable– and safe. 

“There’s sanitation, there’s air filtration, there are measures these guys are taking. We’ve been doing it a long time,” he says.

For some, it’s a mixed bag on plans.

Tyler Sweet-Ray is just coming from a funeral of a person who died of COVID. He says this New Year’s Eve will be low-key. “Maybe just close family and at home. Nothing too crazy at all,” he says.

Trevor Thyer will be using a rapid test before heading out. “Hopefully we all test negative so we can spend the holiday together,” he says.

Luke Trippi is waiting to feel the vibe this Friday. “Maybe we party, maybe we don’t, we’ll see,” he says.

Mueller says who knows this time next New Year’s Eve, what dining out might look like? He says that will all comes down to  COVID… and the customer. 

“There are some people who are comfortable with it, and there are some people who are terrified of it, and there’s a lot of people in-between,” he says.