Changing events in Utah aim to usher in the new year safely amid pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY – While health officials remain cautious as Utah battles the coronavirus pandemic, many communities are pushing ahead with New Year’s Eve celebrations designed to ensure safe what everyone hopes is a much better year than 2020.

There are still opportunities to catch fireworks and events on Thursday night. But as dr. Edward Stenehjem, doctor of Intermountain, said in a question and answer on Wednesday, Utahns should take the same precautions recommended before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“This holiday is our recommendation to just get together with people in your home,” Stenehjem said. “Do not invite others to have the virus possibly symptomatic or asymptomatic that can transmit the virus. This is what we also recommend during Thanksgiving, in accordance with the recommendations of (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Our community transmission speed is just as high. ‘

The seven-day moving average of positive COVID-19 tests in Utah is 25%. “There is just a lot of COVID-19 left in our communities,” Stenehjem said.

The state has compiled its own tips for safe holiday celebrations on its coronavirus website.

“The more people from different households with whom someone associates during a meeting, the closer the physical interaction is, and the longer the interaction lasts, the greater the risk that someone who has COVID-19 can spread it to others, either. he or she has symptoms or not, ”says the state.

It recommends that the meetings be kept as small as possible and that the participants wear masks indoors, be physically distant, practice good hygiene and do not attend events if they are ill or exposed to COVID-19.

Modified events

The Gateway’s annual “Last Hurray!” celebration is only a few years old, but has already turned into the biggest New Year’s party in the state. This year, the live entertainment and fireworks are back, but organizers are encouraging people to get involved online rather than show up in person.

There will be people attending the event as The Gateway has sold a limited number of tickets for families to enjoy the show in the main square. Parties will be physically removed, masked and given a place; tickets for the event were sold out, however. Interested Utahns can still join a waiting list if a registered party is unable to attend.

For everyone else, The Gateway encourages Utahns to streamline the action from home. “People can log on to or and they’ll be able to see the group’s performances, the countdown and the fireworks,” said Jacklyn Briggs, Gateway’s marketing manager. “There will be live recordings from The Gateway so people can have a local experience from the comfort and safety of their home.”

The entertainment begins at 11pm with music from the local act The Cool with Bri Ray.

Some Gateway dining options will also be open late, including HallPass and Dave & Buster’s, as well as The Grocery Store. “Anyone who comes down is welcome to go to public dealers,” Briggs said. ‘But just as a reminder, it will hurt the capacity because they have a certain amount of space that once it is filled, they will not allow more people. So this is the first thing that comes first. ‘

The square will only be rounded off for ticket holders.

This is the gift you can give us. Wear a mask, do social removal, limit your contact so that you do not contribute to the continuous transmission of this virus.

-Dr. Edward Stenehjem, interberg doctor

Elsewhere in Utah, Provo is holding a drive-in fireworks display with celebrations at 9 p.m. The Living Planet Aquarium hosts a “Noon Year’s Eve” event, there is a holiday laser show going on in the Maverik Center, and the popular Luminaria Light Show at Thanksgiving Point is holding a sold-out New Year’s Eve event with fireworks.

Of course there will be parties and gatherings and crowded pubs. But there are safer options this New Year’s Eve, and as Stenehjem said during the Intermountain presentation, the best way to thank Utah’s health workers this holiday season is “to get COVID and not pass COVID on to someone else.”

“This is the gift you can give us,” he said. “Wear a mask, do social distance, limit your contacts so that you do not contribute to the constant transmission of this virus.”


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Graham Dudley

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