New Year's Eve? Stay Home, Officials Say; Grand Park Event Goes Virtual


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - It'll be a New Year's Eve unlike any other tonight, with elected and health officials making an urgent plea for residents to stay home to avoid further spread of COVID-19.

“Nobody should be gathering at a big party, and nobody should be gathering in a small party, as well,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday night. “These are the ways that this virus will spread to your loved ones. Some who won't be taken from us will spread to others and those people will be taken from us. It's all it takes to set off a dangerous and often deadly chain of events.''

Garcetti said Los Angeles police will “have a significant deployment'' on the lookout for large gatherings being held in violation of health protocols. In anticipation of the holiday, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer asked Eventbrite to remove invitations to New Year's Eve parties from its website.

The city's traditional New Year's Eve gathering at Grand Park downtown has been scrubbed to prevent crowds from gathering. Instead the celebration is shifting to an online and televised format, with a musical lineup curated by Grammy-nominated DJ/producer Steve Aoki. The event will be streamed on Grand Park's YouTube channel and Facebook page, and broadcast nationally on Fuse TV.

The Santa Monica Pier has been closed for the weekend in another effort to prevent people from gathering. It'll remain closed until early Monday morning, and Santa Monica officials said city code enforcement officers will be on the streets to crack down on violators of health orders.

The pier will still have a festive atmosphere, even though it'll be devoid of people. The Ferris wheel at Pacific Park on the pier will put on a light show dubbed “West Coast New Year's Eve Countdown 2021 on The Pacific Wheel.'' Beginning at 11:30 p.m., the 174,000 LED lights on the Ferris wheel will be illuminated in a series of displays, including the words “Happy New Year'' in 16 different languages.

The Ferris wheel will also have a numerical 60-second countdown to midnight.

But people shouldn't flock to the pier to see it. The display will be streamed online at www.pacpark.com/countdown2021.

The message of “stay home'' is being pushed by health officials who say the current surge in cases across Los Angeles County is already going to get worse in January due to public gatherings and travel that are believed to have already occurred over the Christmas holiday. More such violations of health restrictions for New Year's Eve will only make matters worse, they warned.

“Please, everyone, stay safe and do everything you can to protect your loved ones and your community and those around you,'' county Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said. “... 2020 has been a very difficult year for so many people across our county. As the year comes to an end, though, we know that everyone wants to celebrate the end of this year and the beginning of the next. But please, do not go outside of your household to celebrate New Year's Eve. Stay home. Stay with those in your household. And save the out-of-house celebrations for next year.

“We absolutely have to get this surge under control and it will take everyone's effort to do so,'' she said. “If we don't, then the beginning of 2021 will be worse than the end of 2020, and that is not a situation that any of us want to have happen.''

Photo: Getty Images


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