PHOENIX - This weekend would be primed for holiday parties in a typical year, but COVID-19 is hitting restaurants and event planners hard.
During any other year, Jason Stephens at Floridino's Pizza and Pasta in Chandler would be getting ready for a holiday party.
"Normally in December, we have two to three events a day."
But not this year.
"Right now? Zero."
Restrictions and fear of getting sick, along with many companies working from home anyway make it tough to rock around the Christmas tree.
"We’ve had some that are booked farther in the year because they want their spot. But they called and canceled. Everyone’s just going day by day because we don’t know what’s going to happen," Stephens said.
Event planners are in the same boat.
Parties on Purpose is trying to host COVID-safe events, but owner Jamila Watson says the big events are nonexistent.
"For some of our corporate events, instead of having 200 people at one time, which we can’t do, instead we’ll have people reserve their spots. So they come in, 10 at a time."
But the spirit of the season jingles on.
Don’t believe it? Just take it from Santa.
"We’re trying to bring a little organization to this world of chaos. We’re trying to make people smile and have hope. That’s the biggest thing, hope. And know that we’re all going to get through this together."