SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco leaders announced Tuesday plans to cancel this year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases.
Mayor London Breed and city public safety leaders said the decision was made after closely monitoring local health indicators and impacted public safety staffing levels.
Currently, 84% of eligible San Franciscans are fully vaccinated and 55% have received a booster
dose, but city leaders said community spread of the Omicron variant still poses a significant risk.
“While we are all understandably eager to ring in a new year with San Francisco’s customary New
Year’s Eve fireworks show, we must remain vigilant in doing all we can to stop the spread of the
COVID-19 Omicron variant,” said Mayor Breed.
“Thanks to our employee vaccine mandate, our public safety workers are well-protected against COVID, but they still must take all precautions to help limit the spread. By canceling the New Year’s Eve fireworks show we are reducing everyone’s exposure to COVID-19, while ensuring continuity of citywide public safety operations.”
The city adds that enacting proactive measures that will best protect residents and essential front-line workers as the omicron variant is increasingly prevalent remains its top priority.
Limiting large public events like the city’s New Year’s fireworks show will provide an additional
layer of protection to San Francisco first responders.
City public safety agencies are experiencing reduced staffing levels due to public health isolation and quarantine requirements brought on by COVID-19.
“The newest variant is here and spreading fast. It is impacting everyone in the community, including our public safety staff,” added Mary Ellen Carroll, the executive director of the Department of Emergency Management.
“The health and safety of our first responders, front-line workers, and community is our top priority. Canceling this New Year’s Eve fireworks show not only reduces the risk of Omicron exposure, but also minimizes impacts on critical safety systems like 9-1-1, allowing dispatchers to remain available to those in most critical need.”
The annual fireworks show at the Embarcadero requires increased deployments for critical public
safety staff like police officers, firefighters, paramedics and 911 dispatchers.
“San Francisco is taking yet another smart, prudent and necessary step to protect one another from the spread of COVID-19 — this time, from a highly contagious Omicron variant — by canceling New Year’s Eve fireworks,” said Chief of Police Bill Scott.
“Minimizing needless exposures among our officers and professional staff is key to maintaining the police staffing levels San Franciscans expect of us, and it’s important that we all do our part as San Franciscans to help reduce community transmission citywide.”
The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management will still activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center for New Year’s Eve to support citywide coordination, situational awareness, and resource management.
City leaders also want to remind the public to call 311 to report any noise complaints, such as illegal fireworks, and call 911 only for life safety emergencies.
The public can register for AlertSF at www.alertsf.org or by texting their zip code to 888-777.