PSA: Please Stay The Hell Home For New Year's Eve

by Valerie Williams

The CDC is advising that we all stay home for New Year’s Eve because in case anyone’s forgotten, we’re still in a pandemic

In news that should be a complete foregone conclusion, the Centers for Disease Control have posted guidance on what to do on New Year’s Eve this year. If you guessed the answer is “stay the hell home,” you’d be mostly right. I said the hell part — the CDC keeps it a lot classier.

After nearly an entire year of watching friends, family, and neighbors flout COVID social distancing and masking guidelines, the holiday season is upon us along with the predicted surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. If anyone is foolish enough to think that New Year’s Eve will somehow be different than Thanksgiving or Christmas, both holidays that saw huge amounts of air travel despite the ongoing global pandemic, they’re almost definitely going to be proven wrong. In my southern town alone, I see near-daily posts from local restaurants and bars advertising their big NYE shindig/dinner special/drink special etc. and I just go a tad crazier while remaining in my house with only my immediate family.

So yeah, in light of all that, the CDC is kindly asking folks to stay put and participate in alternate (safe) activities when the ball drops.

Because Americans apparently don’t learn from pain, the CDC has to keep reminding us what behavior is safe and appropriate during a pandemic spread via airborne droplets. Spoiler alert: it’s definitely not going to your local brewery’s big, indoor, year-end bash full of heavy-breathing people with no masks on. Hospitals across the country are reaching capacity with some even turning ambulances away and treating patients in gift shops. If revelers simply must have a 3-course dinner followed by a party full of fellow idiots, they’ll literally have nowhere to go once they become sick enough to need a hospital bed. Cool!

Also, can we just be real about the fact that going out on New Year’s Eve usually sucks? Drunks everywhere, bartenders and servers who would probably (understandably) rather be home or partying with their own family and friends, sweaty crowds, packed parking lots — no thanks. I’ll take my jammies, snacks, and movies even in non-pandemic times.

If people simply must get together with folks outside their household, the CDC has provided some suggestions to keep things safer including: everyone in masks, limiting the number of guests, having guests bring their own food and drink, having spare masks available, and above all, considering cancelling the gathering in the first place.

After all, if a New Year’s Eve party is your thing, do everything possible this year to guarantee that you’ll have many more celebrations in the future. Stay. The Hell. Home.