COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–With people planning to gather to celebrate the New Year, Ohio’s bars and restaurants are facing immense pressure from the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Many businesses are reinstating COVID safety procedures such as mask-wearing, temperature testing, and increased distancing and sanitizing.

“Restaurants know how to do this, they know how to be safe. The patrons will also make a decision if they walk into a place, if they feel uncomfortable, cause it looks like there are too many people in there, they might get their food to go,” said John Barker, President, and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association.

Barker said this is similar to what they went through during the start of the pandemic in 2020. That is why he believes they’re prepared to handle this latest surge.

Meanwhile, doctors have said if you plan to go out, be sure to make considerations.

“If people are able to do the basics, wear their masks, social distance, get vaccinated, get boosted, I’d say a smaller group would be safer,” said Dr. Brian Taylor, a hospitalist with Central Ohio Primary Care.

Dr. Taylor said with this latest variant spreading so rapidly, he’d prefer people stay at home this holiday.

He also said you can still support the restaurant industry from a distance.

“I’m sure we’re going to order takeout on New Year’s Eve and try to support the restaurants because I know that they really depend on people for their business, but you want them to be safe as well,” said Dr. Taylor.

While many restaurants are operating this holiday, others around Ohio are being forced to close or shorten their hours due to a lack of employees.

“Some restaurants have closed, they’ve closed for a week or two, and that has to do with what we understand they don’t have enough employees. And that was already the situation, and then with Omicron so many people testing positive, they’re just having to kind of close their doors,” said Barker.

Restaurants are also asking for continued patience, as they say, wait times could be longer, food prices higher, and certain menu items unavailable.