Quiet streets on very different New Year's Eve in San Francisco

Bay Area residents said goodbye to 2020 and were ready to ring in a more hopeful new year. It was a more subdued New Year’s Eve night than in years past. People were encouraged to stay home and avoid large gatherings to help slow the spread of COVD-19.

In San Francisco, people heeded the warnings, the streets were empty. It was quiet at the Embarcadero and other known celebratory spots in the city. No big fireworks show and no big events scheduled. A lot of people were at home celebrating safely.

2020 ended on a different note.

At San Francisco’s Embarcadero, gone were the big crowds gathered to watch the big midnight fireworks show. There was no such show this year due to the pandemic, just a few people milling around.

"I just want to have some New Year’s Eve spirit walking around, looking at the Bay Bridge and lights here," said Jenny of San Mateo.

MORE: San Francisco extends stay-at-home order, travel quarantine

City Hall was lit up in festive gold to ring in the new year. Many beach and park parking lots were closed including the Marina Green to dissuade revelers from gathering in groups.

"The original plan was to go out and rage until 1 a.m. and it kind of was like 'let’s go out and see the city a little bit and get out because it’s nice out tonight,'" said Kevin Tarango of San Francisco.

Law enforcement was out looking for those violating the stay at home order.

"If those admonishments are not heeded people can be cited and or arrested for not complying to the health order," said Officer Robert Rueca, San Francisco police spokesman.

Many people spent New Year’s Eve out and staying in. The One Market Restaurant across from the Embarcadero sold out of its New Year’s Eve dinners. And it’s been a tough year for restaurants. Many who sadly saw their demise.

Met with boos, the iconic Cliff House sign was taken down this New Year’s Eve. It officially closed after 157 years after negotiations with the National Park Service failed. Many people were devastated to see the legendary landmark go away.

"I think the National Park Service, it’s a tragedy the way they’ve handled this venue," said Linda Allen of San Francisco.

"My New Year’s resolution is for a better year and to find a new job," said Nancy Hickox, Cliff’s House employee. "I worked at this place for 15 years."

Almost everyone has said they can’t wait for 2020 to be over and for 2021 to begin.

"I think hope is a really great word," said Ashley Schempp of San Francisco. "Hope for change and moving forward to the next year as well. I think we learned a lot of patience last year so building on that."

A lot of people said they hope to travel and see family and friends in the new year. One person said they hope to see an end to COVID-19.

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