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NYE 2021 events carry on despite San Diego County's urging to avoid large celebrations

One restaurant owner said precautions being taken to ensure safety.
Posted at 6:50 AM, Jan 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-01 09:50:59-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As another pandemic year comes to a close, New Year’s Eve 2021 feels different for some at Il Songo Italiano in Gaslamp Quarter.

"It feels amazing. It's lively Last year we were actually closed due to the Governor's order,” Sean Shoja, the owner of Il Songo Italiano, said.

It may feel great to celebrate and have old acquaintances be forgotten. But, there's still something that'll be carrying into 2022, COVID-19.

"It's a little scary because of what's going on, on our planet,” Sacha Boutros, a partner at Il Songo Italiano, said.

San Diego County announced there were nearly 6,000 COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday.

Prompting officials to urge people not to attend large New Year's celebrations.

Its advice was echoed by some in the medical community.

"We hope that there will be some behavior change for New Year's Eve. Obviously, big parties are going to be super spreader events again,” Dr. Chris Longhurst, Chief Medical Officer for UCSD Health, said. “We think that at least 1 in 15 people probably has asymptotic COVID and it's easy to spread that unintentionally."

Longhurst also said if you are going to be indoors with people you don't normally see, please stay masked.

The folks at Ill Songo Italiano said they've taken plenty of precautions to make people feel as safe as possible ringing in the new year.

Things like creating more airflow, taking fewer reservations to have more spacing, and monitoring guests so that they don't mingle with other tables are some of the things being done.

The restaurant's owner said he has his reasons why they moved forward with the new year's celebration despite concerns with omicron.

"Knowing that most of the citizens are vaccinated and even had the booster shots. And we know what to do,” Shoja said.

As the omicron variant surges, for some, the end of 2021 feels like the end of 2020.

"But COVID is rampant, and it is present," Boutros said. "So, we have to do our best to protect ourselves, and protect our loved ones and people that we don't know.”

Boutros also told ABC 10News many staff even took COVID tests prior to the New Years' Eve celebration as an extra step.