Omicron surge alters NYE plans, U.S.S. Hornet postpones fundraiser

Some New Year's Eve events are altering their plans because of the coronavirus. 

KTVU spoke with two organizers in Alameda. While one is putting of their party, another said they can pull it off safely.

The U.S.S. Hornet is almost three football fields long with plenty of open space.

"You can see by the number of microphones we're going to have, we were going to have a decently sized swing dance band here," said Laura Fies, executive officer with the U.S.S. Hornet.

The naval ship was decorated for its annual New Year's Eve celebration fundraiser.

Almost 400 tickets were sold, half the number of people it could have hosted.

"We had three dance floors, a big stage, and it was going to be a really fun event," said Fies.

Then came the decision Thursday to postpone the event due to COVID concerns.

"We don't want our folks to be apprehensive about an event on the Hornet. It's supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be an enjoyable gala," said Mark Epperson, CEO of the U.S.S. Hornet.  

Now, the Hornet is offering a refund, credit towards a future event or the money can be donated to the museum.

"We thought this was the most prudent thing to do," said Epperson.

But the party scheduled to be held on the Fume Blanc Commodore will go on as planned according to Toby Proescher with  

The event planner said it is among the party boats set to sail from San Francisco New Year's Eve.

He said even though San Francisco canceled its annual fireworks show, he hasn't received any cancellations.

"Not one call I've fielded has been somebody saying they want to cancel. The calls I'm getting is, 'Hey I'm driving three hours away, is this still happening?'" Proescher said there's been a uptick in ticket sales in the last 72 hours.

SEE ALSO: San Francisco cancels New Year's Eve Bayfront party and fireworks because safety first

He says proof of vaccinations and masking are required unless eating, drinking and dancing outdoors.

He said normal capacity for this ship is 340 people-reduced to 300 for social distancing.

He expects about 250.

"People are wrestling with their conscience. ‘Should I go out and have a good time or should I stay home?’ The best idea is whatever makes you feel good," said Proescher.

Back at the USS Hornet, there's disappointment since the museum was shut down twice during the pandemic for a total of six months.

There is resilience in the face of challenge.

"We've had to lick our wounds before. We made it through COVID. We're going to do it again. There's a lot of hope and optimism," said Epperson. 

The New Year's Eve celebration on the USS Hornet was expected to raise $60,000.

The CEO said he hopes to reschedule the event for this coming Spring, perhaps April.

To help the USS Hornet Museum: