A rise in COVID-19 cases across Colorado looms over New Year's Eve celebrations

Gov. Polis: Omicron now accounts for 91% of all infections statewide
Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row Denver
Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 19:41:32-05

DENVER — For Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Denver, New Year's Eve will be the biggest day of the year.

"We are opening up New Year’s Eve and bringing energy to Denver like it's never been seen before," said spokesperson for Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row Denver, Lissa Druss.

But before opening day, there’s still plenty of work to do.

"We've been planning for years on this and hiring has been incredible. We have some of the best staff," said Druss.

At the same time, a rise in COVID-19 cases, specifically tied to the highly transmissible omicron variant, looms over many venues across the metro area hosting New Year's Eve celebrations. Whiskey Row says its staff is prepared and trained to keep its customers safe.

"We are a mask mandate facility. So coming in, you need to wear a mask. If you're circling among our facility, you need to wear a mask unless you're eating or drinking," said Druss.

For Governor Jared Polis, going out on New Year's Eve to a large event regardless of vaccination status comes with a risk, although being vaccinated makes it unlikely you'll end up in the hospital.

"It is out there, it is contagious, you have a high risk of getting it if you go out. Obviously that risk is reduced a bit if you wear a mask but as long as you are fully vaccinated and hopefully with all three doses, the risk of you getting severely sick from the omicron variant is very small," Governor Polis said during a virtual news conference Wednesday.

Dr. Michelle Barron, the medical director of infection control and prevention at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, says people should also consider smaller New Year's Eve events this year.

"I would probably just ratchet it down, get your close friends that you are comfortable with, kind of like what we did last year with our bubbles," Dr. Barron said. "I think, from a planning standpoint, we're still sort of bracing ourselves for the next two weeks to really see the impact of these decisions."

In less than 48 hours, many will be celebrating the new year, something venues across the city with different guidelines hope to do as safely as possible.

"Everyone wants to do everything they can to stay safe this holiday," said Druss.