COVID-19 celebration concerns as New Year’s Eve approaches


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – With New Year’s celebrations a day away, an Evansville bar becomes the center of a complaint over lack of mask wearing and social distancing.

In video obtained by Eyewitness News, it shows several people at Chaser’s Bar and Grill on West Franklin St. not wearing masks and standing close together. The footage shows it allegedly happening this past Saturday.

“We did receive similar pictures and information,” says Joe Gries of the Vanderburgh County Health Department. He also says they’ve reminded owners and managers what the state’s rules and requirements were regarding masks and social distancing, but was unsure how many complaints Chaser’s and other bars and restaurants have had since the pandemic’s start.

“The process for us is just trying to make sure what those guidelines and have things in place to make sure they’re not only protecting their employees, but also their patrons and anybody that would be coming into their establishments,” he explained.

We went to Chaser’s for comment, but were told the owners are out of town and no one was available to discuss the issue. This happens as state officials warn people about large gatherings to celebrate the start of the new year.

“I ask every single Kentuckian to keep any New Year’s celebration small,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. He also says if businesses are hosting events, they should still follow mask mandates and other capacity requirements. He adds the safest place to celebrate the new year is at home.

“We all want to support many of our businesses that New Year’s Eve is a big night for and I hope we can find different ways to do that without leaving the safety of your home on New Year’s Eve,” says Gov. Beshear.

Indiana state health officials say the guidance for new year’s celebrations are the same as other holidays. People should wear masks inside and outside, stay six feet apart, avoid crowds and stay home if your sick.

Guidelines for New Year’s Eve from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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(This story was originally published on December 30, 2020) 

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