City of Tybee officials discuss New Year’s Eve safety during the pandemic

City of Tybee officials discuss New Year’s Eve safety during the pandemic

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Tybee Island cancelled their New Year’s Eve celebrations, but all the while city officials say a lot of people have still chosen Tybee as the place where they want to be to ring in the new year.

City Manager Shawn Gillen says over the last few days Tybee’s traffic numbers have been up and many of the rental properties are booked. He says the city’s main concern is people following the rules and the COVID-19 protocols while still having fun.

Like so many other traditions that were cancelled this year, Tybee’s New Year’s Eve fireworks off the pier won’t be happening. Even though the city’s not hosting a celebration, city leaders say they’re prepared for the crowds that have already been coming in over the last few days.

“We are pushing upwards of almost 7,000 cars in a day. That’s not unusual for the week after Christmas, but I think the fact that the New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend it’s going to be a little busier,” Gillen said.

City Manager Shawn Gillen says the city is worried about people setting fireworks off on the beach. He reminds people that this is illegal and it’s bad for the wildlife. Gillen also says code enforcement and extra police officers will be out, also keeping an eye on COVID-19 rules.

“There are still some rules in place, in the county and through the state on mask wearing and on social distancing. If you’re in a bar or restaurant just be mindful of people around you.”

If people are looking for something fun to go see, Fannie’s On The Beach will be having their beach ball drop at midnight.

“This year we went bigger with the ball since we couldn’t throw the party. We wanted to make it a bash,” said Fannie’s on the Beach General Manager Patrick Norton.

The 12 foot tall, lit-up ball will be something people can watch from their cars or the beach to stay socially distanced as they count down the last few seconds of 2020.

“We’d still love for everybody to come out and celebrate New Years. Grab some to-go food, sit in your car, sit on the beach you know make it a new New Years tradition,” Norton said.

Friday is also the annual Tybee Polar Plunge. It’ll be held virtually, so for anyone participating they can jump in the water from anywhere and submit a video to the Tybee Post Theater.

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