Miami cancels Big Orange countdown New Year’s Eve celebration due to COVID-19 concerns

Several cities across South Florida will not go forward with annual New Year’s Eve celebrations in an effort to avoid an end of year superspreader event.
What would have been the 35th anniversary of the Big Orange countdown has officially been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
The iconic orange usually rises up the side of the InterContinental Miami Hotel.
For 2020, the city had planned to add a laser show and thank you message to recognize health care heroes, first responders and essential workers during the pandemic, but that won’t be taking place, either.
The annual anchor drop in Fort Lauderdale will only be able to be viewed on TV or online.
“We’ll have live music, and it’ll be a wonderful time for families to stay at home and enjoy the New Year’s [celebration] in the privacy and safety in their own environment,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.
The curfew in Miami-Dade County and Broward County will begin at 1 a.m.
“One a.m. will allow people to toast to the new year safely and get home safely,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Mayors for both counties are reminding all South Floridians the changes that have been put in place are to protect everyone in the community.
“We want everyone to enjoy their family and close friends safely this holiday season so they can make it through to the next,” said Cava.
“It’s when you’re not wearing your masks and you’re not social distancing, that’s when people get sick,” said Broward County Mayor Steven Gellar. “We’re asking you to be safe, protect yourself, protect your loved ones, protect your community.”
Over in South Beach, plans are still in place for a COVID-conscious party on New Year’s Eve at the Palace Bar.
“There is about six feet apart for each table,” said performer Tiffany Fantasia. “We’re not going to let anything damper our spirits down. We’re going to go into 2021 with a bang.”
“Wear the masks,” said Palace Bar owner Thomas Donall. “It’s hard for all of us, but we have to do it now to get through this moment in time.”
Visitors on South Beach on Wednesday said they were happy the restrictions for New Year’s won’t be as strict as other places, like their hometowns.
“Just here for New Year’s,” said one visitor.
“We’re here from San Diego,” said another visitor.
7News cameras captured several people without masks along Ocean Drive, and one tourist, who said he’s a doctor, wishes more people followed the guidelines in place.
“I’ve seen the world change around me and particularly here, I’m actually quite surprised that you see a lot of people without masks on here,” he said.
“It’s a risk for many people. I see you taking it seriously yourself with the mask,” said one visitor who wasn’t wearing a mask.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, however, wants those who are still heading out for the holiday to keep something in mind.
“Every day, about 100 people in Florida die, so we’re really hoping that people exercise good judgment, and they don’t make New Year’s Eve a superspreader event,” he said.
Officials said code enforcement will be out looking for businesses and individuals who are not following the rules.

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