Bakersfield residents and local businesses ring in 2022 despite omicron surge

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — On Friday, Bakersfield will ring in 2022 and enter its third year with COVID-19. Despite the omicron variant raging nationwide, many residents were undeterred.

“No, no, COVID has no effect on what I do,” one Bakersfield resident, Tony Reyna, said when asked if the pandemic would change his plans Friday night.

Nationally, average cases hit 300,000 for the first time this week. Here in Kern, the test positivity rate jumped from 3.3% on Dec. 16 to 7.5% as of Thursday.

Crista Zard works for environmental safety solutions and does COVID testing daily. “I did 56 COVID tests yesterday and out of that, 32 of them were positive,” Zard said.

Zard is not letting that stop her from celebrating the holiday with a murder mystery party at a friend’s house. But she did take extra precautions.

“I pretty much COVID tested everyone that is going to be there,” she said.

Many local businesses in Bakersfield are welcoming New Year’s Eve guests for the first time in two years. Sissy McClenny, the Manager at Belvedere cocktail lounge, noted it’s been a tough year with restrictions on bars.

“Business has been a little rough so we’re hoping this one day can help us out,” McClenny said.

McClenny said the lounge is taking precautions like having sanitizer stations and wiping down tables more frequently.

But overall, she said the goal is to make those celebrating at Belvedere on New Year’s feel as close to normal as possible … 2019 normal that is.

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