COVID-19: Omicron variant impacts holiday plans

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the omicron variant rises to the front of people’s minds, many people are wondering how it will impact winter plans.

The holidays mean a lot of gatherings. Whether that’s traveling to see family, going to holiday office parties or neighborhood caroling, people gather, and omicron may present an extra challenge. Keishla Perez owns Confetti and Co. Event Planning.

“There were a lot of cancellations due to COVID and not having the vaccine available and all that good stuff,” Perez says.

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Confetti and Co. Event Planning started at a tough time: January 2021. COVID-19 impacted their business from the start, but as the delta strain died down, things changed.

“I’d say from 10 kids or a guest in general to now the last what I did was 60.”

Fewer cases mean more people and more parties.

“I see that people are starting to feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Now, the planner says she charges a deposit to protect herself but thinks even if omicron becomes an issue, at this point, many people are willing to take the risk.

“So it’s kind of like, you know, safe for myself and for them to, you know everybody is willing to take a risk and they’re getting comfortable enough to start making big moves outside.”

Perez says in her opinion, holiday parties and gatherings will continue even if there is a risk from a new strain. While the omicron variant is top of mind for many people ahead of the holiday season, travelers say they are also not planning to shy away from seeing their families.

“Traveling is always, like, kind of scary with all the COVID, but yeah, we are glad everyone is still wearing masks and following protocols.”

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Annalynn Poon’s daughter lives in Philadelphia. She says even if the variant begins to show up more frequently, they would rather take the risk to see their daughter.

“She’s vaccinated, we are vaccinated, I don’t know. I just don’t get scared so much of these things.”