Maritimers ring in New Year’s 2022 in a downsized, virtual fashion

Many seafarers have chosen to minimize New Year celebrations this year in an effort to help curb the current spike in COVID-19 cases.

“I was in bed at 9:30 pm deeply asleep after dinner,” said a woman from Fredericton.

With the number of confirmed cases reaching an all-time high across the region, public health officials in all three maritime provinces have urged people to cut back on their New Year’s plans for the second consecutive year.

Katie Friars and her husband, Brad, spent the night baking cookies and enjoying a meal her mother brought to their doorstep – a nice change from previous years.

“We used to have a rally. For example, we’d celebrate New Years with some friends and throw a party and really, you know, eat, drink and be merry. But this year was definitely different than usual, ”Brad Friars said during an interview with Zoom on New Year’s Day.

The couple say they turned to technology to virtually spend the evening with friends.

“I had it set downstairs that we could jump into a group call with some friends and we played online games called Jackbox and stuff. So, we did it all together and then we counted down to the new year online together, ”said Brad Friars.

Troy Paul, a resident of Moncton, said he would normally play in the New Year by hosting friends and family at his home for a large group dinner, but this year was different.

“We just did our family thing. It was different, but we had to do what we had to do, right, ”Paul said.

Ivan Daigle, a musician in the Moncton, NB area, was expected to play in the New Year by performing in front of friends and family before COVID-19 restrictions canceled his shows.

Instead of an in-person concert, the artist took to social media to stage one final performance for 2021.

“If the only other option is to do a virtual show, and I choke just saying that word because it’s painful, but if the only other option is in fact that, I’ll go for that,” Daigle said.

Despite numerous cancellations, some celebrations went on as planned.

Following COVID-19 safety protocols, more than 100 people made the cold dip in the waters of Mispec Beach, just outside Saint John, NB, for the annual Polar Dip.

“A lot of people asked me if it was still going on with COVID and all I said was, ‘I’m doing this.’ There is a lot of space on the beach and enough space to distance yourself and the cold water freezes all the nasty pains of COVID, ”laughed Trina Forrest, who in addition to organizing the dive, also took part.

While most of the celebrations this year looked different, many people felt it was the right choice to make given the circumstances.

“I absolutely hope so. Everyone I know said they’re having a quiet night, they’re responsible, they’re doing what we need to do and what public health has asked us to do, ”Paul said.

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