After selling their house in New Jersey, Tery and James Miller decided to book a vacation in Cayman to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style.
But when the two showed up at the Grand Old House on Sunday night, they were surprised to find a subdued atmosphere.
“We came to party and dance, and they told us it was another hour away,” Ms. Miller said around 11 p.m. that night. “We just found out, and I was surprised no one told us.”
The Millers were some of the many who were affected by 40-year-old legislation that prohibits dancing and live music on Sundays. With New Year’s Eve falling on a Sunday for the first time since 2006, dozens of restaurants and bars had to cancel their party plans, foregoing what’s usually one of their most lucrative nights of the year.
“We did way less business because there’s no live music,” said The Wharf manager Alex Saunders, who estimated that his restaurant drew about 30 percent of the customers on Sunday as it did last New Year’s Eve. “We’re closing early so everyone can go celebrate and enjoy.”
Rion Kirk, also known as DJ RKM, played live music at the Grand Old House after the ball dropped at midnight. Mr. Kirk – who has played regularly at Barolo Lounge, Whiskey Mist, Royal Palms and other clubs and bars – said that the music and live dancing ban did not affect him as much as it did the less-established musicians, DJs, and other entertainers.
“I know a lot of my peers in the industry are probably hurting because of the hours and the cutting down. People who rent equipment, people who DJ – they’ve all been affected,” he said. “New Year’s Eve is typically a double-time pay event from your normal rate.”
However, the ban on live entertainment did not affect the spirits of the hundreds who went on boat parties, relaxed on the beach, or celebrated at home.
“We’ll make our own party,” said Ms. Miller as she and her husband left the Grand Old House to head to Seven Mile Beach.
Despite the restriction, DJ Flex played live music at Camana Bay, with people dancing there in the hours leading up to New Year’s Day.
“Everyone put your hands in the air – five, four, three, two, one!” DJ Flex shouted to ring in the New Year.
Most people dispersed after midnight struck, some heading home and others out to dance and enjoy the extended hours that bars and clubs were permitted to stay open for.
Cayman resident Victoria Kovalchuk, who spent her first New Year’s here after moving to Cayman from the Ukraine last year, said that she had fun throughout the evening – dancing or not.
“The fireworks were amazing,” she said.