New Year’s celebrations could look different due to recent rise in COVID-19 cases

ORLANDO, Fla. — People will gather across Central Florida with friends and family to mark the last few hours of 2021.

Thousands of people are expected to celebrate at local bars and restaurants across Central Florida.


This year’s celebrations could look different due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Florida broke another record for new COVID-19 cases.

More than 58,000 cases were reported Thursday.

The previous record was 47,000 on Tuesday.

READ: New Year’s Day superstitions: Don’t wash clothes; do look for a tall, dark, stranger and eat greens

It’s New Year’s Eve but like last year, COVID-19 is dampening the mood.

Case numbers are spiking like never before. Restaurants and bars that took a financial hit last year worry they may not be able to make up the difference this year.

“We’re looking to make sure that everybody feels very good. Doors are going to be open throughout the night and keeping nice distance between tables,” said Kirt Earhart, with Maxine’s on Shine.

READ: Your guide to Central Florida fireworks to ring in the new year

COVID-19 precautions like social distancing will be encouraged at many bars. Medical experts said those celebrating at home should be mindful as well.

“Keeping your gatherings small. Maybe blending two households, but even then if there’s fragile people, meaning that they’re medically fragile, that they’re over the age of 65, that you definitely would want to get tested beforehand,” Dr. Tim Hendrix said.

READ: New Year’s Eve grocery store hours; what’s open New Year’s Day?

Remember, COVID-19 spreads faster indoors.

“If there are multiple households there, people from different areas that are unmasked indoors, that’s how this virus is transmitted primarily,” Hendrix said.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.