PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Event organizers across Tampa Bay are making changes to New Year’s Eve celebrations as cases of COVID-19 and the omicron variant spread worldwide.
There will no longer be a New Year’s Eve celebration at the Floridian Social Club in St. Petersburg. The event, and all others on the venue’s calendar through Jan. 3, have been canceled.
“We were so looking forward to ringing in the New Year with you all, but with the rise in cases among our staff and guests, we feel this is the most responsible and safe decision,” managers of the Floridian posted on Facebook.
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The marquee on the social club’s building says closed and a sign on the door explains it’s due to the “health and well-being of our guests and staff.”
Other events will go on but with an enhanced focus on safety.
Hal Freedman, chairman of First Night St. Pete event says the fact that their celebration is almost entirely outdoors makes them feel more comfortable and able to bring back the popular music and art event for its 29th year. Last year the event was held virtually.
“We’re keeping track of the numbers. We’re talking about it every day and at this moment, we’re not planning on pulling the plug,” Freedman said.
Masks in downtown St. Pete will be highly recommended.
Ian Krystik, General Manager of the Fusion Resort in Treasure Island, is confident his hotel’s event will be safe as well.
“We’re going to have a lot more chairs around the edges. We’re trying to keep space and not as many tables, so people aren’t all together,” he explained, while showing off their rooftop which overlooks the intracoastal and has 360-degree views of Treasure Island.
The celebration at Fusion Resort was limited to 100 guests and quickly sold out.
“We could definitely fit more people, but we want everyone to feel safe and be in a safe environment,” Krystik explained.
Krystik says they’ve learned how to be proactive about safety by hosting other events like weddings and a July 4 rooftop celebration.
Event organizers across Tampa Bay say safety will be their top priority as they give patrons a way to celebrate the end of 2021 adding that if you have any concerns about the location where you plan to ring in the new year, you can give the venue a call to discuss the protocols they have in place to keep you safe.
Many cities are also hosting New Year’s Eve fireworks and are urging families to come out and enjoy the festivities while spaced apart.