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

For generations, revelers have welcomed in the West Coast New Year, on San Francisco's Waterfront; famous for its fabulous fireworks show.  Despite having 84% of eligible San Franciscans vaccinated and 55% boosted as well, the City By The Bay has called off Friday night's New Year's Eve celebration.

We ran into long time sports marketing professional Pat Gallagher. "Maybe it's overkill but I sort of understand what the mentality is. I think there are people just afraid to make a mistake and they err on the side of being too conservative," said Gallagher. 

"I'm bummed to be honest because I feel like in San Francisco we are so cautious and everybody is taking the proper precautions," said Marina resident Amy Highstreet.

One key factor, said Lorrie Thomas of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, is that many restaurant and bar employees are quarantining after having tested positive for COVID. 

"But I understand the reasons, given that there's a lack of workers who are going to be unable to work and facilitate safely," said Highstreet.

Another fear: the aggressively spreading omicron variant would potentially have tens of thousands of potential hosts in the crowd. The fact is, the Bayside celebration draws people from all over the state and nation; some of which come from low vaccination places or may be unvaccinated themselves or could be carrying, an unlikely, but potential new variant.

Bars and restaurants will lose the most. "I look at it as a very smart move by the city. I'm really glad they did it," said Perry Butler. The legendary restaurateur for more than a half century, has two restaurants in the city, another in Larkspur and one coming to Novato. 

"It's one of our busiest nights every year. But, we were nervous about it in advance for our own staff and just everybody's wellbeing. This thing is like wildfire and it will jump up and get you in a day's time when you least expect it," said Butler.

Like Perry's, restaurants that can be open will be open, ready willing and able to serve you. So, enjoy the city because the weather should be great. 

"Lunch on New Year's Eve is a very busy meal period everywhere, which is kind of fun. So, we're open and we'll take good care of people and keep our fingers crossed said Butler, "Hopeful for next year for sure. It's got to be better," said Gallagher.

In doing this story, I also learned this: One in four bottles of U.S. champagne sales happen in the week leading up to New Years’ Eve. That is almost 40 million bottles.