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A Very (COVID-Safe) New Year’s

By Olivia Haveron

Let’s all be honest, 2020 was a year that no one has truly enjoyed to the fullest. With COVID becoming a constant threat early in March, this whole year we have been stuck in quarantine wondering what could possibly come next in 2020… because there is always something else. And yet, 2021 comes along in mere days, and while it might not be immediately better, the pure concept of 2020 being over manifests pure joy.

However, due to COVID-19 it seems nearly impossible to celebrate the coming of a new year. Our typical traditions appear to be lost – we cannot party with our friends, kiss strangers at the stroke of midnight. But all is not lost; there are countless ways to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to a new year!

To start off, the most basic of all traditions – the famous ball drop – will still be occurring, even if no fans are there to enjoy the live festivities. This year, the crystal ball will still drop, and even “Auld Lang Syne” will still continue to play from Time Square. In fact, many aspects of the typical NYC New Year’s Eve celebrtion will be present, including special performances for television and online appearances. The only difference is that there will be no public audience. The festivities of the night will focus on recognizing those Americans who have been getting us through the pandemic. Finally, capping off the night, New York’s mayor will come on stage to count down the final 60 seconds.

If you’re still dying to get to Times Square to kick off the New Year, the Times Square Alliance has organized a virtual Times Square experience. The downloadable app allows you to create your own avatar, snap a selfie with the crystal ball, and take the elevator to One Times Square observation deck. Finally at midnight, an augmented reality fireworks show bursts on your screen.

Another option – if you’re curious about how other countries are celebrating – is to watch live streams of foreign countries. The New Year begins at different times all over the world. Each country has its own customs and events, giving you the perfect chance to explore and understand the rest of the world. Watch livestreams of the new year from all over the world.

And surprisingly, it’s possible to still celebrate with your friends as well! This year, it appears that everyone and their mother discovered Zoom. Zoom has kept us connected as we avoid close contact with one another. And now, Zoom can be used to celebrate the new year. Social distancing doesn't mean you need to celebrate alone. Everyone can dress up, share their favorite memories from this year, their Resolutions, and get excited for 2020 to finally end. To really show off your party planning skills, create a theme, make drinks, create new traditions – you can even hire an online DJ to really get the party started! If we can’t celebrate together in person, we can’t still celebrate over Zoom.

Everyone is waiting for the moment for 2020 to be over, and even though 2021 might not be much better, the idea of this year ending is a cause worth celebrating. And we shouldn’t let COVID stop us from celebrating – safely I mean. There are countless options to ring in the new year and we all deserve a little bit of celebrating right now more than ever.


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