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COVID New Year's: No San Francisco Fireworks; Twin Peaks, Beach Parking Lots Closed For NYE

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – As health experts urge people to ring in 2021 by staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, San Francisco officials reminded potential revelers that there will be no New Year's fireworks display and access to some landmarks will be closed.

In a joint statement, the city's Police and Fire departments, along with the Department of Emergency Management and Sheriff's Office, said the sanctioned fireworks celebration along the Embarcadero would not take place due to the ongoing pandemic, which has surged in recent weeks. Officials also reminded residents and visitors to the city that the sale and use of fireworks are illegal in the city.

With the fireworks canceled, BART will not offer extended hours and the last trains depart at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Service on New Year's Day begins at 8 a.m. with a Holiday / Sunday schedule in effect.

The city's Recreation and Park Department also announced several New Year's Eve closures at several popular landmarks. Rec and Parks officials said the gates to Twin Peaks off of Burnett Avenue and off of Portola Drive will be closed to vehicle traffic starting Thursday evening, reopening at 6 p.m. on January 1.

Meanwhile, the parking lots for Ocean Beach will be closed starting at 5 a.m. on December 31. Parking lots at Marina Green will close at 6 p.m., along with the parking lot at Stern Grove. The lots will reopen at 5 a.m. on January 1.

In Golden Gate Park, Rec and Park officials said holiday light exhibits will be going dark on New Year's Eve to honor those who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and to honor healthcare workers on the front lines.

Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax has urged people not to gather for New Year's Eve, saying that people holding traditional celebrations amid the surge in cases could be "catastrophic" for the city's hospitals.

"There is more virus out there than ever before. We simply can't get away with things you may have been able to get away even with in prior surges. It's one New Year's Eve. I know it's been a hard year. But the vaccine is on the way," Colfax said at a briefing on Tuesday.

Mayor London Breed said avoiding New Year's gatherings outside one's household is "critical", saying, "We can't lose our progress by having another surge."

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