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New Year's Eve celebrations still scheduled despite surge in cases

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BATON ROUGE - The Basin Ballroom on Third Street Downtown is getting ready for the return of its big New Year's Eve bash.

"We're expecting a good crowd," said Trevor Beard, manager of the Basin Ballroom. "We're excited to come back after COVID."

Beard says they will have a live band and are pulling out all the stops. However, this year's celebration is not expected to be like the rest.

"A nice crowd but not as has been pre-COVID," Beard said.

Even with the Omicron variant on the rise, though, the ballroom will not be enforcing strict COVID guidelines.

"As far as protocols go...no mandatory. It will be completely optional," Beard said.

"I know the Omicron is out there and it's nothing to play with," Les Jackson said.

Jackson, like many others, plans to attend a New Year's Eve celebration despite the virus being on the rise.

"I am very concerned about COVID, but I will most definitely take the necessary precautions," Jackson said.

Several other nightclubs and hotels are planning their own celebrations after not having them last year. However, some say their reservations are already being canceled after party-goers tested positive for the virus.

At the Basin Ballroom, it has not been the same all year long. A trend they expect to continue on New Year's Eve.

"The bars, it feels that it hasn't gotten back into full swing yet," Bear said. "Everything is slowly getting back so we are excited."

Some downtown establishments are adhering to strict COVID guidelines during their end-of-the-year events. This includes reducing the number of party-goers allowed to attend and mandatory mask mandates.

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