Health officials caution against attending large gatherings for New Year's Eve

Power and Light New Year's Eve prep
Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 18:40:34-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Doctors and public health officials are asking people to avoid large gatherings this New Year's Eve as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the metro.

This comes as there are several large-scale NYE events planned in and around the city.

The Power and Light District will bring back its NYE Live! event, which it calls the biggest New Year's Eve party in the city.

Power and Light officials couldn't provide KSHB 41 News with an interview about safety protocols Wednesday, but a spokesperson sent a statement saying the event has expanded its footprint from previous years.

Walnut Street will be closed off to the public to allow for more room for food trucks and extra restrooms, which should help shorten lines for patrons.

There will also be more heaters brought in to provide more outdoor spacing for people to spread out.

But as the near year approaches, public health officials are asking people not to let their guard down.

"I know that people are anxious to get back to a sense of normal, but we have to remember that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic and COVID is not over," said Frank Thompson, interim director of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department.

Thompson is asking people to celebrate at home. He wants to remind everyone they are in the middle of a new wave of COVID-19 cases which are still driven in part by the delta variant along with omicron.

"We are not seeing the extensive spread of omicron that others are seeing, but it is coming," Thompson said. "So we need to be preparing for that, and putting ourselves in situations where we are more likely to be exposed is not the best course of action."