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The do's and don'ts to celebrate New Year's Eve safely as COVID-19 cases spike

As the Omicron variant surges, officials are asking you to be smart with your NYE plans.

ATLANTA — We are now just a few hours away from ringing in 2022, and 11 Alive is taking a closer look at how you can safely celebrate the holiday amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the President of United States, told Americans that this is "not the year" to go to big celebrations.

"When you're talking about a New Year's Eve party, we have 30, 40, 50 people celebrating, you do not know the status of the vaccination. I would recommend strongly stay away from that this year," said Fauci.

Local health experts are encouraging people to celebrate, but with COVID in mind.

“We know what’s been happening as a result of Christmas. It doesn’t mean everyone should stay home and cancel their plans – but just be wise," said ER Dr. Mehrdod Ehteshami.

Officials recommend that you DO:

  • Keep gatherings small
  • Celebrate with people you a know are vaccinated
  • Celebrate outdoors
  • Wear a mask regardless of vaccination status when indoors

“If you’re able to get your hands on a home test, take it that day and be flexible. If it’s positive – don’t go. If it’s negative then go, wear mask, and just be smart about it," added Ehteshami. 

Dr. Jayne Morgan, Director of COVID-19 Task Force at Piedmont Healthcare echoed similar statements.

"I absolutely want to encourage people to get their boosters and start that vaccination series. Wear a mask wherever you can," said Morgan.

As you prepare to launch your fireworks and countdown the new year, there are a couple of DON'TS to keep in mind:

  • APD asks that you don't fire guns as celebratory gunfire is illegal
  • Don't fire off fireworks after 1 a.m.
  • Don't fire off fireworks near gas stations, hospitals, public parks, or historical sites.
  • Never drink and drive

Despite the Atlanta Peach Drop being canceled, there are still several ways to celebrate the night. The Battery Atlanta will have a family friendly event starting at 6 p.m. followed by a firework show at midnight. Fireworks can also be seen from Stone Mountain at 9 p.m.You can also watch Time Square's ball drop on the big screen at the Illuminarium on the BeltLine.

If you are headed out into the city, remember your mask as Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms moved the city back to the red zone earlier this week and has re-introduced a city wide mask mandate.