KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As New Year’s Eve celebrations return this year, some businesses are taking extra safety precautions due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

Last year, a lot of New Year’s Eve celebrations were called off due to the pandemic, but many restaurants, bars and businesses are bringing back the festivities this year.

Science City in Union Station is bracing for about 3,000 people to attend its annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration on Friday. They normally allow 4,000 people but are capping attendance lower this year.

Tickets are only available online. Science City will not be taking cash at the door. Union Station strongly recommends people to wear a mask as well. The family-friendly event will start at noon and end at 6 p.m.

“We have activities and programs, cooking all around the world and activities for family and children,” said George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station.

There will also be a balloon drop at 6 p.m. at Union Station with about 2,000 balloons.

You may be familiar with the traditional late-night countdown to the New Year at Union Station, but it’s canceled again this year.

“With the success we’ve had in the past with these new activities, I don’t think you’ll be seeing an adult party this year or next year or it might morph into something new,” Guastello said.

Of course, there will be other events across the Kansas City area catered just to adults.

“Last year we had to close at 10 (p.m.), so we did an Irish New Year’s,” said Lawrence Mauzey, owner of Fitz’s Blarney Stone Bar.

Local bars are looking forward to closing at a normal time this year since in December 2020, Kansas City had COVID regulations in place that included a curfew.

“We get a lot of service industry people,” Mauzey said. “When they get off work at the restaurants, they show up here 10, 10:30, 11 (p.m.). That whole time we had to close at 10 (p.m.) just killed us.”

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