HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – As COVID cases reach alarming levels, one Midstate city is canceling its New Year’s Eve plans. Others are hosting events that were adjusted to keep safety in mind.
The city of York is calling off its New Year’s Eve events, including the annual rose drop and the kid’s balloon drop.
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York chief of staff Collin Holder points to the increasing COVID numbers and overwhelmed hospitals.
“We’re taking a big step in canceling city-sponsored New Year’s Eve events,” Holder said. “These events have the potential to bring in very large crowds together to celebrate. And this could prolong what’s happening within our community.”
They are encouraging those who still want to celebrate to do it at spots around the city.
“We are hoping people will go out and support local businesses, but at this time we do not want to be the people producing large-scale events that have the capacity of bringing in thousands of people in the square,” Holder said.
Other Midstate cities are moving forward with modified celebrations.
Kate DeHaven-Freund is the special programs & events manager for Lancaster. She says the city is not having their typical red rose to drop on New Year’s, but will be doing roaming DJs and a fireworks show.
“When we were planning these events we just needed to make sure we considered COVID safety,” DeHaven-Freund said. “Especially with the number of cases that are rising in Lancaster county and Lancaster city, I think this is a good alternative to meeting as a big group of people.”
Harrisburg is moving their celebration to FNB Field on City Island. That’s where the assistant manager of special events Cortney Ranck-Cameron says they’ll be doing the strawberry drop, fireworks, a beer garden, food trucks, and live music.
“By holding it at the stadium we’re really able to spread things out so that people aren’t right on top of each other,” Ranck-Cameron said.
Hershey is also taking their event outdoors, with the Hershey kiss raise, live bands, food trucks, and fireworks. Media and Marketing chair Julie Goolsby says they felt like that plan balanced safety and celebration.
“Because we’re in downtown Hershey where there’s ample room for people to spread out, we’re feeling pretty comfortable there,” Goolsby.
She also says they’ve heard from a lot of people who are excited that the event is still happening.
Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Hershey are encouraging people who attend the events to mask if they’re around others, even if they are vaccinated.
“There’s a sense of excitement and anticipation, and just wanting to say goodbye to 2020 and 2021 and put them behind us.”