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'Stay small:' Navicent Health leader advises keeping New Year's Eve celebrations small

Director of Infection Prevention Jeff Stephens says to continue following safety guidelines and avoid large crowds.

MACON, Ga. — We'll soon be able to kiss everything we've gone through in 2020 goodbye, but that doesn't include a goodbye to safety guidelines.

Health experts want people to avoid starting off 2021 with a case of COVID.

"I just think getting into closed spaces with big groups of people is nonsensical in the middle of a pandemic. I just don't think that there's any good rationale for that at this time," said Navicent Health Director of Infection Prevention, Jeff Stephens.

It may be New Year's Eve, but Stephens says a small celebration will make a bigger impact.

"If you want a good New Year without other people getting ill or yourself, I think it's the time to stay small, stay with your family," he said.

That means following safety guidelines even if you decide to stay home with loved ones.

"Hand washing, social distancing, masking, I mean it's almost become a mantra, but it's a mantra we should all continue to do especially with the number of cases right now," Stephens said.

He says if you do plan to celebrate in public spaces, think about whether the benefit of a night out outweighs the risks.

"As a public health person, I just can't see that that's a very good idea, but once again, people have to decide that for themselves and I hope that the various venues have taken into account the distancing and the things that they need to do to decrease the risk of spread," he said.

Under the governor's orders, bars and nightclubs should limit their capacity to 35% of total capacity to allow room for social distancing.

"My wish for everybody for the New Year is to continue to do the things we need to do to decrease the risk of spread," Stephens said.

It's a resolution that could bring you closer to the end of the pandemic in the new year.

Stephens also says you should wear your mask correctly; covering both your mouth and nose for full protection.

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