San Francisco city officials said on Tuesday they’ve decided to cancel the city’s annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show over concerns around COVID-19 as cases continue to climb nationwide.
With the Omicron variant contributing to the skyrocketing cases, city officials said they’re canceling the famous fireworks show over the Bay for the second year in a row.
Thousands of residents and guests typically pack along the Embarcadero to watch the show, but last year people were told to stay home to prevent large gatherings and limit the virus’ spread.
Once again, city officials are remaining cautions.
“While we are all understandably eager to ring in a new year with San Francisco’s customary New Year’s Eve fireworks show, we must remain vigilant in doing all we can to stop the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “By canceling the New Year’s Eve fireworks show we are reducing everyone’s exposure to COVID-19, while ensuring continuity of citywide public safety operations.”
Additionally, because of the latest surge, isolation and quarantine protocols are resulting in reduced staffing levels for public safety agencies, city officials said.
“Minimizing needless exposures among our officers and professional staff is key to maintaining the police staffing levels San Franciscans expect of us, and it’s important that we all do our part as San Franciscans to help reduce community transmission citywide,” Police Chief Bill Scott said.
“We urge you to join us in celebrating safely at home with your close family members and friends with all COVID safety measures in place,” Fire Chief Jeannine Nicholson said. “The cancellation of the traditional fireworks display will allow us to focus our resources on emergency services and day-to-day operations without the addition of large crowds and the potential incidents that arise from such crowds.”
As of last week, the city was seeing an average of 305 new COVID-19 cases per day, compared to an average of just 91 cases the week prior.