FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The city of Fort Lauderdale was unable to hold their Downtown Countdown last year because of COVID-19. Unfortunately, the pandemic still looms, but the city has decided to move forward with the festivities.
Dean Trantalis, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, said: “Last year, as you know, COVID prevented us from really having this event and this year we are not going to let that happen. We are not kidding ourselves, we know everyone is going to party tonight so let’s do it in the open air rather than in closed in spaces.”
Naomi Nkwet was at the celebration early and told Local 10 News that she felt safe attending because the event was outside.
With thousands of people expected to celebrate the New Year, Fort Lauderdale police have taken extensive measures to ensure public safety with both visible and non-visible operations. With the unfortunate rise of the omicron variant, city officials know some people may be on the fence about attending the event. Trantalis has a message for them.
“Get vaccinated. Get boosted. If you want to wear a mask, we don’t discourage it. We encourage people to be safe,” Trantalis said.
The mayor added that those who have not been vaccinated or just don’t feel safe in an environment like that, he encouraged them to stay home.
For those planning to attend, keep in mind there will be several road closures. For that reason, plan to head out early.
The event started at 4:30 p.m. and will run until 1 a.m. Find out more here.