Questions surround metro Detroit New Year's Eve events as COVID surges across state

Posted at 9:10 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 23:17:30-05

(WXYZ) — People are gearing up to say goodbye to 2021, but unfortunately it comes at a time when COVID infections are sky-high.

Canterbury Village in Lake Orion is still planning to hold their annual Mitten Drop while Mount Clemens is bringing back their fireworks show and New Year's Eve party.

The Mount Clemens New Year's Eve celebration isn’t a ticketed event so organizers say they really don’t know how big the crowds will be this year, but in the past, before the pandemic hit, it drew nearly 5,000 people just to the downtown area.

Mount Clemens Mayor Laura Kropp says 2021 was a tough year for a lot of people. Many battled COVID or lost loved ones and others faced unimaginable tragedies, like the deadly school shooting in Oxford.

"As many normal activities as we can fit into this holiday season, I think that's what our entire community really needs," said Kropp.

Kropp says bringing the ball drop and firework show was a measured decision.

Last year, they scaled it back only putting on the fireworks show and encouraged people to watch from their cars.

"We are excited to be back out, but we are of course being mindful. We will encourage people to mask up if that makes them feel more comfortable," said Kropp. "Everything is really focused outside."

Long-time Mount Clemens resident KC Curatolo says she's never been a fan of crowded New Year's Eve celebrations and the pandemic has only magnified her fears.

"This is a climate where you can't take many chances especially when you're in a crowd and everyone is taller than you and you feel like you're in quicksand," said Curatolo.

Keith Aldrige is excited to hold his annual Mitten Drop at Canterbury Village, but he agrees large gatherings, while COVID infections are at an all-time high, aren't for everyone.

"If you're a high-risk person, yes please don't come I agree with that 100 percent," he said. "You know, I won't let my father come because he's in poor health."

Organizers of the Beacon Park NYE Countdown decided they didn't want to risk having a super spreader event.

A spokesperson issued 7 Action News this statement:

"With the health and wellbeing of the visitors, families and friends of Beacon Park in mind, the New Year’s Eve Kids Countdown event has been canceled due to the risk of emerging cases of the Omicron variant. We look forward to hosting more events in 2022 and wish everyone a healthy and safe New Year.”

The new highly contagious omicron variant has top health officials urging people to avoid large gatherings, but Mayor Kropp says everyone, including Mount Clemens residents, should have a choice.

"If you want to come out then you'll have that opportunity," said Kropp.

For more information, check out the Downtown Mount Clemens Facebook page.