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New Year's Eve celebrations held in Gaslamp Quarter but with smaller crowds

County health officials encouraged people to gather in small groups and avoid large gatherings this holiday weekend.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — New Year’s Eve celebrations were underway in San Diego and some events were still sold out despite rising COVID-19 cases. Health officials have encouraged people to take part in small gatherings, whether vaccinated or not, to help reduce the spread of the virus.

This time last year most of us were home because celebrations were hampered by the pandemic and although the crowds are not as large as they have been in the past, lots of people decided to get out tonight anyway to bring in the new year.

“I cannot wait to kick this year down the road and move on with 2022! I’m very excited, I’m so happy!" said Kimberly, who was visiting Gaslamp from Napa, CA. 

We’ve made it through another year and even with the challenges related to the pandemic, people in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter are ready to let loose and welcome in the new year.  

Hotels and restaurants in Gaslamp are hosting parties and offering dinner specials, something many people say they’ve been looking forward to all year long.  

“We’re just outside having a good time. We have been cooped up in the house for the last two years so we just decided to come in the safest way possible,” said party-goer Marnise. 

As COVID-19 cases continue a dramatic rise, County Health officials highly recommends that people continue to implement safety protocols like wearing a mask, getting tested and getting vaccinated. 

They also encouraged people to gather in small groups and avoid large gatherings this holiday weekend. 

“I have a lot of concerns but let’s just be honest there’s so much going on. I’m vaccinated, I still got COVID. I know people that aren’t vaccinated. Being are still going out. I don’t think our economy can handle another shut down. So, it just one of those things where I have to take it on the chin and hope everybody’s as safe as they possibly can be,” said Christopher, who was downtown to celebrate the new year with friends. 

People are also being encouraged to get home as safely as possible after New Year celebrations. For those in need of a short-distance ride, Lyft and Bird also have discounts on electric scooters.

“I do have a designated driver. It’s my mom. So definitely encouraging others to use Lyft and Uber or any other way to stay safe out there,” Marnise said. 

Health officials have also warned that after the holidays, we’re most likely to see a major increase in COVID-19 cases. They say the Omicron variant is responsible for most of the positive test rate in San Diego County.

WATCH RELATED: San Diegans kiss 2021 goodbye at iconic statue 'Embracing Peace' (December 2021)

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