Northampton New Year’s Eve celebration adapts to COVID-19 restrictions

Hampshire County

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Social distancing was the last thing on the minds of the many thousands who made downtown Northampton their New Year’s eve destination for the last 35 years.

But with the Pandemic, we can expect a far different first night this year.

There will be the fireworks and the ball will be raised atop the Hotel Northampton at the stroke of midnight heralding in the new year, but this will be a virtual celebration seen only on select Television platforms.

The heart and soul of first night since its inception 35 years ago has been the thousands who gather near the hotel after enjoying an evening of dining out, visiting merchants and attending performances throughout the city.

Main street store owner Erica Cole knows how different it will be this New Year’s Eve.

“We are not planning for big crowds due to the social distancing. But we serve a lot of people in the community. So, we will maybe have shortened hours, but we will still be here for whoever wants to come out and come in from the cold,” Cole said.

The network of entertainment venues will be accessible only to those who tune in to Northampton’s Comcast Cable channels or live stream from YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook.

The first night in Northampton is hardly the only casualty of the Coronavirus, forcing traditional activities to do things just a little differently.

“It’s the sign of the times, but if we all get together we feel like it’s necessary this holiday season,” Cole said.

And looking ahead to better and safer times next year, the hope is the crisis will have passed and people will again find comfort and confidence in the company of others, many others for celebrations for the common good such as ringing in the new year.

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