IG News Updates,
Every weekend from now until Christmas, the available space at the Caruso Club in Greater Sudbury, Ontario is fully booked.
“Now you’ll see people smiling, partying, having a good time,” said general manager John Cimino. “You can tell there are a lot of people who are happy that everything is lifted and they can go out.”
Holiday parties are making a comeback. This means venues are gearing up for a busy booking season.
It’s quite a change from the past two years, when COVID-19 restrictions resulted in empty banquet halls and scaled-down celebrations.
Cimino said bookings at the Caruso Club are about 80 percent where they were during the 2019 holiday season.
During the pandemic, a ban on large gatherings meant that two halls had to be closed and regular buffet meals in restaurants had to be discontinued.
“For two years we’d walk down the hall, an empty hall is kind of terrifying,” Cimino said. “it’s good to be back.”
Bookings are also strong until spring for the newly renamed Northern Credit Union (NCU) Community Centre, home of Karl Sudbury.
“People want to do things. People want to get out and be involved and socialize and they’re booking places,” said event coordinator Kelly Irwin.
She said people started contacting her over the summer to book Christmas parties. Some are even deciding to hold their parties in January.
Irwin said, “We don’t have a Saturday open until the end of our curling season. That’s in April.”
Curling clubs are also increasing interest in the sport, with more curlers either returning or new athletes interested in joining. Plus, big bonspiels are returning to the venue.
Irvine said their event this coming weekend to mark 130 years of the Sudbury Curling Club is expected to help bring in even more business.
“A non-profit curling community would not have survived the pandemic if it wasn’t for the people who care about our building and care about who we are,” Irwin said.
playing it safe
Meanwhile, some places are intentionally planning for smaller crowds this holiday season.
Golf Sudbury is the umbrella organization for four golf clubs in Sudbury, including Timberwolf Golf Club. It rents out its facilities for parties.
Events manager Lori Huzzies said they are booking medium-sized parties of 30 to 50 people. Pre-Covid-19, those numbers were about 75 to 80 people.
“I think people certainly want to be able to go out and celebrate, but there’s definitely a lot more going on when it comes to planning and attending these events.”
She said Timberwolf Golf Club is prepared if the rules change at the last minute due to rising COVID-19 or flu cases.
“It is unknown whether we are going back into the restricted area,” she said.
“It’s important to set the right expectations with clients, so yes, we can plan these full service parties and events, but there’s always the chance that we’re going to end up in a situation where we’re not able to deliver.” Can.
The COVID-19 Risk Index in Greater Sudbury currently sits at Medium. The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased in recent weeks.