Huntsville patrons hopeful for better 2022 despite Omicron variant

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Across the world, New Year’s Eve celebrations have been put on pause or canceled due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

For the second consecutive year, many people are happy to say goodbye to the year of the pandemic. 

The owner of ‘The Poppy and Parliament’ in downtown Huntsville and his patrons plan to celebrate the coming of a new year and told News 19 that all of the talk about the new variant will just have to wait until the ball drops. 

Andy Joughin came to Alabama to visit friends. “It’s been too long since we’ve been able to do what we want, see who we want, visit friends and family. In 2022 starting with this weekend, I want to get out and see some people that I haven’t been able to see in a long time,” he said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health recorded its highest one-day total in new COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. Folks in Poppy and Parliament say they will carry safety measures into the new year. 

“Change is always part of life,” said patron Frankie Childs of Huntsville.  

Childs says the coming of a new year brings a new variant and it means we just have to adjust. 

“It’s something we have to deal with. It’s something we necessarily have to be afraid of. We have to accept what is given to us and deal with it on that level,” Childs told News 19.  

Childs and his son David from Florida are among the crowd filing into The Poppy and Parliament for one of the only New Year’s Eve celebrations in the downtown area. The group at the bar echoes his sentiment. 

Dave Matlock opened the bar-eatery at the beginning of 2021 and says that customers are aware of the threats of the virus that has plagued the city for two full years. He’s sold a limited number of tickets for the celebration because folks don’t want to start another year adjusting to a threat of a new variant.  

“They’re wanting to spend money in retail, service and hospitality… We’re excited to have the customers back. We’re excited to have the friendly faces back.” 

“I think that if we can all pull together, I think that’s the way to do it is to watch out for each other and have each other’s backs across the board and just keep moving forward,” Matlock said. 

Some of the bars in downtown Huntsville are either closed or shut down due to COVID-19 infections. The patrons say one of their New Year’s resolutions is not to get sick at all.  

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