By Shardaa Gray
CHICAGO (CBS) — New Year’s Eve was four days away Monday night, and with COVID-19 surging, lots of would-be revelers are worried that Omicron could crash the party.READ MORE: Chicago Weather Alert: Snow Totals From Lake Effect Snowstorm
So what is the right thing to do in the final hours of 2021?
As CBS 2’s Shardaa Gray reported, Navy Pier said if you want to watch the spectacular fireworks show there in person, you must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result no more than 72 hours old.
You must also wear a face mask that completely covers your nose and mouth.
Meanwhile, we had a chance to talk with Cook County Health. They said an outdoor event – socially-distanced and masked up – is one of the best ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire.
“We’re not ready quite ready to let our guard down just yet,” said Dr. Mark Loafman, department chair of family and community medicine for Cook County Health.
Loafman said being indoors and unmasked is the common denominator for the surge.
“Indoor, where you don’t know the status of folks that are coming or people who are sketchy about wearing their mask, that is the single biggest cause of spread right now – the best we can tell,” Loafman said. “As much as I’d love to get out New Year’s Eve to a restaurant or to a group gathering, it’s just not safe.”READ MORE: Mayor Lightfoot Added To Lawsuit Over Removal Of Christopher Columbus Statue In Little Italy
That is exactly why Hannah Genovese is selling her New Year’s Eve ticket.
“I realized that I should not be the one that goes to this event, especially when I was talking about the New York City SantaCon event with my friends – saying how irresponsible it was people went there – and I’m realizing, oh my God, that’s going to be me if I go to this event,” Genovese said.
Genovese said her sister contracted Omicron four weeks ago, and she herself was planning to spend time with friends on New Year’s Eve – but decided not to after seeing numbers rise.
She said Chicago is on the track of when Omicron hit New York City hard.
“Think about what you’re doing,” Genovese said. “You saw what happened in New York City and you don’t want to knock out the entire city of Chicago like New York City was knocked out in the past few weeks.”
But the City of Chicago said in a release the mask mandate is still in effect, masks are required at all public indoor settings across the city, and many venues will also require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter.
“If you’re going in doors and you’re going to congregate with a bunch of people, please, please wear your mask,” Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday. “We’re one of the few states that put on the mandate in early August and kept it on, and it really has kept infections from skyrocketing.”
At Navy Pier, anyone attending the New Year on the Pier party at the Aon Grand Ballroom also must pass a temperature check. Anyone with an elevated temperature will need to take a rapid COVID-19 test on the spot, and anyone who tests positive will have to leave. Those who have to leave will be issued a refund.MORE NEWS: Illinois DCFS Director Marc Smith On Hot Seat Before State Lawmakers Over Lack Of Beds And Foster Homes For Kids, Other Issues
Anyone entering the party, regardless of temperature result, can take the free COVID test when entering.