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'It could be a dangerous situation' | Gaslamp businesses sell out New Year's Eve events despite climbing COVID cases

Many businesses that cancelled parties last year say they are working to find what they say are, safe ways for people to come together and celebrate.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Big preparations are underway in the Gaslamp Quarter for New Year's Eve. At Il Sogno Italiano Fine Dining and Music, Sacha Boutros says their reservations booked fast.

“We are almost sold out, we have a few seats in the earlier seating, and we have live music on both sets in are seven days a week live music program. We will have a five-course meal with champagne and the most wonderful jazz that San Diego has to offer,” said Boutros, partner at Il Sogno Italiano with owner Sean Shoja.

Boutros is a Grammy Nominated singer and director of Hear me Roar Entertainment. She will perform live along with a quarter and a full line up of musicians. She says the business is taking all the necessary COVID precautions.

"It will be safe here, and we will be checking temperatures at the door and people will be wearing their masks, and we will be a safe as we can be. We are not packing them in as other places might be and we will have people spaced out and have a full-on experience and still be safe,” Boutros said.

Down the street at Fifth and G St., Greystone Steakhouse and Seafood is gearing up for its celebration.

"We are sold out but there are a few spots available, on Greystonesteakhouse.com to make reservations,” said Sara Arjmand, Director of marketing for Greystone Steakhouse.

Arjmand says despite climbing COVID numbers to nearly 6,000 cases on Dec. 29, many businesses are making the most of the holiday.

"We were closed last year, and that was the first year for New Year's Eve that we had to close in 22 years, so we are very, very excited to be open,” said Arjmand.

Greystone will do a three-course dinner, and this year it is à la cart with a steak and lobster menu. Masks will be required indoors.

“If you are planning on coming downtown there are four major parking structures, so don’t be scared of downtown, there is plenty of parking. Everything is happening and thank God it is not raining tomorrow, so everyone is really excited, and at midnight, everyone gets a party favor and complimentary champagne and the countdown till, it is a big party here,” said Arjmand.

Arjmand says all the restaurants and bars have listed their specials and promotions at Gaslamp.org/holidays

The Gaslamp Quarter boasts a full one-stop entertainment and dining location with New Year's parties and dinners at nearly every business on the block.

County health officials are urging San Diegans to avoid large New Year's parties. One local doctor suggests shifting New Year’s Eve gatherings to a later date to not overwhelm hospital staff and help decrease the uptick in omicron cases.

"There is going to be a big chance, a real possibility of bringing Omicron to that party, it could be a dangerous situation to spread to loved ones,” said Dr. Davey Smith, UC San Diego professor of medicine, and head of infectious diseases and global public health.

“We are really excited to go to like a wine lounge area we think, so it should be fun, we are definitely exploring some potential places for New Year's Eve over here,” said Lucille Bootman, visiting the Gaslamp from New York and vaccinated with her two friends.

Friends travelling from New York City say they're hoping to keep COVID in the back of their mind while ringing in 2022.

“I feel like we are doing something fun but still low-key at the same time and we don’t expect somewhere to have a really huge crowd per se, but I guess we will find out tomorrow,” said Melissa Gleave, visiting Gaslamp from New York.

WATCH RELATED: Celebrating New Year's Eve with Terra Bistro in San Diego (December 2021)

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