COVID-19 concerns lead many to scale back NYE celebrations

Kent County

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Party stores were busy with people stocking up to stay in on New Year’s Eve as concerns of COVID-19 impact celebrations.

The manager of Rishi’s International Beverage in Kentwood said this New Year’s Eve many shoppers have come in to get items for a small gathering or a night in. While their plans are similar to last New Year’s Eve, he said there seems to be more excitement this year. 

“You can see in people’s demeanor the mood is not as tense as it was last year, it’s a little more lively,” Rishi Makkar said. 

News 8 talked with shoppers about how they’re planning to celebrate.

Jowei Yek and his roommate David Hertler are staying in this year over concerns of COVID-19. 

“Once you’re like two drinks in I feel like you have less control of who’s around you, what you’re doing and how safe you can be, so I think that’s why we made the plans that we made,” Yek said.

Last year was their first year staying in on New Year’s Eve because of the virus. 

“Years before then we’d usually go out to the bar or a club with a lot more people,” Hertler said. 

Several shoppers who are hosting small get togethers plan to kick off the evening by watching the University of Michigan football team play in the Orange Bowl. 

“Some of my friends from school are coming over and we’re going to watch the game,” U of M student Micah Hoekstra said. 

While shoppers told News 8 COVID-19 played at least some role in how they’ll ring in the new year, it wasn’t the only factor. 

“(It played a role) to some extent, but when you have little kids, you’re not going to have a huge party,” Asa Lakeman said.

Not everyone is planning to scale back or stay in, as others look forward to attending New Year’s Eve events and celebrations across West Michigan.

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