‘At home only’: Health officials say that’s the best way to celebrate New Year’s Eve

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) —  The holidays have changed the way people party this year including how this New Year’s Eve will be celebrated.

The Gateway is offering a different form of fun this year, as compared to year’s past.

The iconic ball drop, the 3, 2, 1 countdown is all the same, but this time around there will not be a lot of cup clinking and hugging and kissing, at least in public in large gatherings. 

The Gateway decided on its celebration plan months ago.

“We actually have a sort of hybrid model we created so there’s two different ways people can celebrate,” said Jacklyn Briggs.

Briggs has worked as the marketing director for three years at The Gateway. The celebrations need to be on hold this year due to what could be an increase of COVID-19 cases if people can’t follow the rules.

“The safest way to have New Years, like every other holiday we’ve talked about, is at home only with people in your immediate household you live with,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Emily Spivak.

Spivak has been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic’s inception. She works for the University of Utah Health. 

She said gathering with those you don’t know almost puts people at one in two chance of getting COVID-19. If people are in a group of 15 or more in Salt Lake, Summit, Davis, or Utah County there is a 40 to 50 percent chance someone has COVID-19.

“Going to a party or any kind of celebration or get together that has people outside your immediate household clearly increases the risk of getting COVID,” said Spivak.

Spivak said a party can turn into a super spreader event.

Briggs said she is organizing this event as safely as possible. 

“Every group that is preregistered will need to check in and they are spaced 12 feet a part and masks are required and of course it is outdoors as well,” said Briggs.

Those that are attending the party virtually will see fireworks and hear local music from the comfort of their home. 

Briggs said this is a day to start fresh and reflect on 2020

“There’s a lot of people at home that have felt isolated this year and they may very well look forward to this kind of experience,” said Briggs. “It is something to do.”

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