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5 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve Safely During COVID-19

December 30, 2020

There’s perhaps more enthusiasm for turning the calendar page on New Year’s Eve than ever, but it’s best to toot your noisemakers and raise your champagne glasses at home during COVID-19 with as few revelers as possible.

Hartford HealthCare infectious disease experts are sounding the alarm – much as they did before Thanksgiving and Christmas – that the safest way to celebrate during the pandemic is with those living with you. Large parties, festive restaurant or hotel events and parades are restricted by state guidelines in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.

“Large celebrations are high-risk,” said Keith Grant, APRN, Senior Director of Infection Prevention at Hartford HealthCare.

He noted a surge in infection after Thanksgiving and expects another as a result of Christmas activities and travel. With that in mind, he urged people to reexamine New Year’s plans to be safe.

Try one of these safe ways to celebrate the New Year without crowding into a house party:

  • Light the backyard firepit and toast marshmallows by moonlight. Blankets can help keep you warm. Write down hopes for 2021 – or hardships from 2020 – and throw them onto the fire.
  • Plan a game night. Competitive or low-key, a few board games will get laughter flowing.
  • Toast virtually. Invite your crew to a Zoom countdown. Start early with conversation, then count down and toast midnight.
  • Take it to the streets. Coordinate with neighbors and head out onto the front steps or lawn with noisemakers, bells or pots and pans for a midnight celebration. Don’t forget the Silly String and confetti because no cleanup is needed!
  • Dive into a movie marathon. Put your pajamas on, make some popcorn and check out the New Year’s Eve themes in “New Year’s Eve,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “While You Were Sleeping” or oldies like “Sunset Boulevard” and “Poseidon Adventure.”

Outdoor activities, Grant said, greatly reduce COVID-19 transmission, but remember to physically distance and wear masks if you come close to neighbors or anyone who does not live in your house.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief medical officer with Hartford HealthCare, added that the presence of vaccine to combat the virus might leave people relaxed about socializing. He stressed, however, that until a majority of the population in immunized, which isn’t anticipated until mid-2021, COVID-19 safety guidelines are crucial.

“We worry about multiple indoor get-togethers . . . we do worry about people’s behavior,” Dr. Kumar said.