There’s a certain segment of the population that lives in abject fear of COVID, and many of them are in leadership within various levels of government. The oh-so-not-deadly omicron variant has captured their fancy, and now they want to use it to prevent people from enjoying themselves.
These fearmongers tried to kill Christmas, but freedom-loving people and those who value their families, friends, and faith over fear celebrated anyway. Now the fearmongers have set their sights on New Year’s Eve.
Full disclosure: I hate crowds, so these New Year’s Eve celebrations sound like the opposite of fun to me anyway. But I know plenty of people who do love these big celebrations in public places. Yet plenty of locales around the world are canceling their New Year’s Eve celebrations or altering them.
All over Europe and Asia, cities have put a stop to their celebrations. Athens, Edinburgh, New Delhi, Paris, and Rome are among the cities that have canceled New Year’s Eve.
Mayor Sadiq Khan of London announced last week that his city won’t hold a public New Year’s Eve celebration either.
Due to the surge in Covid cases, we've taken the difficult decision to cancel our NYE event in Trafalgar Square. The safety of Londoners must come first.
A spectacular NYE celebration showcasing our city will still be shown on midnight on BBC1 – I urge all Londoners to tune in. pic.twitter.com/a9tOJ7f9td
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) December 20, 2021
I guess when he said, “Together, we will get through this pandemic,” he didn’t literally mean that Londoners would defeat COVID side-by-side.
Germany hasn’t just banned big public celebrations, but they’re also limiting the number of people who can ring in the new year together in private homes. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that, as of Dec. 28, “a maximum of 10 people will be allowed to meet in groups, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or recovered.”
In other words, natural or vaccine-induced immunity doesn’t matter; in Germany, you can’t have fun on New Year’s Eve unless you’re will nine or fewer people.
Lawmakers in Germany have even blamed COVID in part for their decision to ban fireworks sales in the run-up to New Year’s Eve.
Rio de Janeiro initially canceled ringing in the new year publicly, but they backtracked and decided to hold a celebration.
Related: How Fauci the Grinch Stole Christmas
New York City’s countdown to 2022 in Times Square, arguably the best-known New Year’s Eve celebration throughout the world, will go on as well, but it’ll look a little different.
Mayor Bill de Blasio decided that his going away party would be “scaled back” and required that celebrants “will have to be fully vaccinated, wear face masks and practice social distancing measures” to party in Times Square this year.
I’m sure the party will be more fun without the filthy unvaxxed anyway.
Seattle is relying on modern technology to say farewell to 2021 and hello to 2022. T-Mobile New Year’s at the Needle — that’s right, COVID doesn’t get rid of lame corporate naming rights — will be a virtual event. There’s no live event at the Space Needle or the nearby Seattle Center, even though they’ll shoot live fireworks. Instead, viewers at home will see the fireworks combined with special effects that only streamers can see.
“To keep the community safe, we’re encouraging everyone to ‘stream in the new year’ from home or at watch parties without gathering or creating crowds,” the event website says.
On top of everything else, I’m sure you were wondering what Dr. Anthony “No Fun” Fauci has prescribed for New Year’s Eve. I’m sure you’ve half-expected him to say that you can only ring in the new year if you’ve had both vaccines and 57 boosters and wear a beekeeper’s suit and four masks, but you’d be surprised.
“It’s absolutely essential that people keep their masks on,” Fauci told WCBS, adding, “Even though outdoors is much more safe than indoors, with regard to the risk, when you have a virus that is so easily transmissible, I would think that it would be a risky situation.”
You know what? Screw it all. Do what you want this New Year’s Eve, as long as it’s legal, ethical, and moral. Don’t live in fear — live your life.
Maybe that’s the way to ensure that 2022 is going to be a better year.