Dubois County Health Officials Hope You Will Keep New Year's Eve Celebrations Small This Year


JASPER -- While New Year's Eve is traditionally a time of merriment and fellowship, this year, the Dubois County Health Department hopes you'll keep your celebrations small this year due to the recent surge in local COVID-19 cases.

 "Much of the cause of this high rate has been traced to family and social gatherings where wearing masks and practicing social distancing guidelines are not followed," Health Department officials said in a statement released this week.  "We also continue to get reports that employees and customers of some businesses are being lax in following the guidelines."

As everyone plans for the New Year’s holiday, health officials are once again asking for everyone to do their absolute best to implement the following practices:

  1. CDC continues to recommend postponing travel.

  2. Keep social gatherings to an absolute minimum, preferably with those individuals who are already within your social bubble (household contacts). No social gathering shall exceed 25 individuals (see EO 20-50).

  3. Wear a mask over your mouth and nose and stay at least 6 feet away from others when you are with individuals outside your social bubble. Wear your mask properly.

  4. Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

  5. Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face.

  6. Consider hosting virtual celebrations with family and friends.

"Staying home and celebrating with the people you live with or celebrating virtually with loved ones is the safest choice this year," warns the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.  "Do not attend large gatherings this year. If you do host or attend a small gathering, everyone can take steps to make celebrating the New Year safer."

If you host a celebration

  • Talk with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Keep celebrations outdoors, if possible.
  • If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
  • Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout.
  • It’s okay if you decide to postpone or cancel your gathering. Do what’s best for you.

If you attend a celebration

  • It’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others. Do what’s best for you.
  • If traveling for a celebration, know what to do before, during, and after travel.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, and disposable plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs that can alter judgement and make it difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
  • Avoid shouting and singing.
  • Avoid areas where food is prepared, such as the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like condiment packets.

Consider Other Activities to Celebrate New Year’s

Have virtual celebrations with loved ones

A family is shown talking to loved ones by using their computer and virtual meeting technology.
  • Attend a virtual concert or performance.
  • Plan a virtual countdown to midnight with friends.
  • Enjoy a virtual dinner or dessert with friends and family.

Plan a New Year’s party for the people you live with

A family is shown indoors, holding presents, with a laptop in front of them. They are talking to other individuals who are shown on the laptop screen.
  • Decorate, play music, and have a dance party with the people you live with.
  • Have a pajama party and watch your favorite movies or play games.
  • Plan a special meal or dessert with your family.

Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors

An urban neighborhood of apartment buildings and condominums is shown. People are standing at their windows and cheering together at midnight to ring in the new year.
  • Call, text, or leave a voicemail for family, friends, and neighbors wishing them a happy new year.
  • Call friends and family to count down to the new year together.
  • Plan a neighborhood countdown to midnight. People who live with each other can stand in front of their house and cheer together at midnight.

Other ideas

A family is shown playing a game in their home.
  • Watch a livestreamed firework display, concert, First Night event, or other New Year’s programming from your home, such as the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop. Virtual events are happening across the United States.
  • Take care of yourself and do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or taking a walk.
  • Pick up a special meal from a local restaurant to share with your household.
  • Plan an outdoor activity with people you live with such as a hike or sledding.
  • Set new year resolutions. Find out if your hometown is sponsoring a special social media event and share your resolutions.