A quiet and needed New Year’s Eve for most

Most of us, the smart ones, celebrated New Year's Eve at home with each other.
New Year's Eve on Dec. 31, 2020, as broadcast by NBC.

Welcome back our friends to the show that never ends,
We’re so glad you could attend,
Stay inside, stay inside!

–Karn Evil 9 by Emerson Lake & Palmer (edited to recognize COVID-19)

We did stay up Thursday night to welcome 2021, quietly, at home with soda, not champaign. We talked ab0ut New Years’ celebrations of our past: The change of century on the National Mall in Washington, a ribald evening in Times Square in Manhattan and, the best one of all, welcoming in the New Year in London, where Picadilly Circus makes Times Square look like a church social in comparison.

The Brits can, and are, rowdy when they party. So were the shoppers Amy endured, at Harrods and other locations on New Year’s Day.

But New Year’s Day was quiet in most locations this year. Police had warned residents in and around New York in Times Square, where the “Time Ball” drops at midnight, was closed on this New Years’ because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“This is a ball drop about nothing, where you can’t see, so you may as well stay home,” said New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

“For 2021 in New York and around the United States, it’s out with the old, in with the few,” reported The Washington Post.

The paper added:

For 2021 in New York and around the United States, it’s out with the old, in with the few.

The pandemic has been crushing for the hospitality industry and the prospect of thin winter months ahead has driven some establishments to try to salvage what they can of the usually bustling New Year’s Eve.

At the Royal D.C., a popular bar in Washington’s LeDroit Park neighborhood, customers usually flood in to watch the Times Square ball drop on a projector. This year, the D.C. government banned alcohol sales after 10 p.m., forcing bar manager Alonzo Freeman to reach for a backup plan: $90 take-home cocktail kits with four alcoholic drinks, as well as cold brew and a guava pastry for the next morning.

“If we could have people here until midnight, 1 a.m., we probably would,” Freeman said. “But since you can’t experience a countdown here, there’s really no point.”

In 1965, as a new staff member of The Roanoke Times, I was expected to work on Christmas and New Year’s Day. The paper published editions for both holidays.

Not now. The Times notice online says:

There is no print edition of The Roanoke Times on New Year’s Day. But there is an e-edition and multiple news, sports and features stories and obituaries available on this website to subscribers.

For information on a digital subscription, click here.

The print edition will return on Saturday.

Today, we will spend part of the New Year with our daughter via Zoom. Then prepare some traditional holiday food and munch away.

A friend said she and her husband were going to a New Year’s Party in Floyd Thursday night. Really? How does any place have a party when gathering limits are 15 and a Commonwealth-wide curfew starts at midnight each and every day until the governor repeals it?

Oh, we forget. Laws are for other people. So, apparently, is safety.

Virginia set a new record it did not want on New Year’s Eve: More than 5,000 new infections from COVID-19. The Commonwealth also topped 5,000 in total deaths from the pandemic.

Vaccines, we are told, are coming but they are arriving far later than promises and in amounts less than claimed.

  • Let’s hope the New Year helps us forget the sad memories of 2020.
  • Let’s hope, too, that we will learn from the horrors of the old year.
  • Let’s hope shots of the COVID-19 vaccines will help end the pandemic that killed too many hundreds of thousands of people in this country and far many more throughout the world.
  • Let’s hope the futile attempts by Donald Trump and his seditious party to overturn democracy and the will of the voters become a lesson to all to stop such enemies of the people and the Constitution as he fades into the political graveyards.

Let’s hope the economy, our schools, and our way of life can recover with energy, unity, and hope for the future.

The efforts to restore our nation and our democracy will be difficult, but freedom is never easy.

Happy New Year!