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The new year is three days away, and New Year's Eve celebrations are here to help you celebrate.
Along with all holidays and celebrations this year being a bit different, New Year's Eve is looking to be the same. Although most events can be found virtually this year, some Austin venues will be hosting a socially-distanced experience.
Here are nine events you can participate in to kick off the new year.
Austin's New Year
You can start celebrating New Year's Eve early this year from the comfort of your own home by attending Austin's New Year virtual event.The event features a lineup on local musicians performing at some of Austin's most iconic venues and will be streamed for free on YouTube, the city of Austin's Facebook and IGTV, online and cable TV. The lineup includes Shakey Graves, Parker McCollum, Gina Chavez, Como Las Movies, Swimming With Bears, BettySoo, Rob Baird and Jake Lloyd. The local musicians will perform at some of Austin's most iconic venues such as Antone's, Cheer Up Charlies, The Continental Club, Mohawk and The Saxon Pub. More information on Austin's New Year can be found here.
The Jungle Show: Live Streaming from Antone's
The annual Jungle Show will be a live stream this year featuring ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan, Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, Sue Foley and B3 giant Mike Flanigin playing from the iconic Austin venue Antone's. The tickets for the virtual event range from $25-$200, depending on if you want to purchase some merchandise along with your ticket. The stream will be broadcasted on New Year's Eve at 7 and 10 p.m. More information on The Jungle Show and tickets can be found here.
Snoop Dogg Virtual New Year's Eve Special
Snoop Dogg will be hosting a virtual New Year's Eve party that can be tuned in from anywhere in the world. The free event will start at 10 p.m. featuring appearances from Go Big Show judges Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Nettles, Cody Rhodes and Bert Kreischer. More information on the event and how to RSVP can be found here.
Virtual Times Square Ball Drop
After 114 years of crowds and the infamous New York City ball drop, the event will take place virtually. In September, the Times Square Alliance announced that the New Year's Eve celebration will still take place, despite the pandemic. This year, an app was developed to help guests celebrate virtually by creating a personalized avatar, exploring a virtual Times Square, playing games and live streaming the countdown to midnight from the comfort of your homes. More information on the event can be found here.
Docs Drive In Theatre
Doc's Drive In Theatre, in Buda, is having a movie marathon for any homebody looking to leave their home this New Year's Eve. Doc's will show "Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse," "Sing," "Boogie Nights" and "The Great Gatsby" followed by a firework show going into midnight. Tickets are $25 per car for each showing. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
Speakeasy's New Year's Eve Bash
Speakeasy, located at 412 Congress Avenue, is hosting their annual New Year's Eve Bash with a socially-distanced experience for guests to celebrate the new year safely. The annual event will have live music from local DJs and bands, party favors including festive hats and noisemakers and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Tickets range from $91-$150. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
Hotel Van Zandt Presents: Twenty Twenty Done
This year, Hotel Van Zandt, located at 605 Davis St., is offering an in-person New Years' Eve experience including a cocktail soiree, games and a one night stay at the hotel. Along with the one night accommodation at the hotel, the event features four craft cocktails per person, games and a distanced seating area for guests to enjoy live music from a local DJ. Only one ticket option is still available for the event, which features three rooms at the Van Zandt for six people for $1,1169. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
New Year's Eve Bash at The White Horse
Celebrate New Year's Eve at the White Horse, located at 500 Comal St., with local musicians to countdown to midnight. The 21-and-up event will have live music, drinks and food to purchase. The lineup includes Garret T Capps, Mayeux & Broussard and Kathryn Legendre for a $10 cover charge. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
House of Tones NYE Masquerade featuring OFFAIAH
House of Tones is throwing a special New Year's Eve masquerade party this year featuring OFFAIAH, Special K, JDS and Star Force to end your year right. The event will be located at Pinballz Kingdom in Buda to offer a socially distanced experience for guests as they count down to midnight. Along with performers, the event will have lasers, vendors, VIP tables, arcades, food and more starting at 8 p.m. General admission tickets range from $40-$50. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
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After reaching Stage 4 last week of Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines, Austin-Travis County is now at the Stage 5 threshold with a seven-day average of 50 hospitalizations and dwindling ICU capacity.
While unenforceable under Gov. Greg's Abbott order against local mandates, vaccinated individuals are asked to choose drive-through and curbside options, outdoor activities, social interactions with limited group sizes, as well as social distance and wearing masks indoors. Partially or unvaccinated individuals are asked to avoid gatherings, travel, dining and shopping, choose curbside and delivery options, as well as wear a mask on essential trips.
Flashing back to early-pandemic times, hospitals are at critical capacity—the 11 county Trauma Service Region of 2.3 million people is fluctuating at 16 staffed beds, according to APH.
In a statement on behalf of Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David's Healthcare, a spokesperson said that hospitals are asking residents to "help us and each other" by getting vaccinated and continuing to utilize safety practices to slow the spread of the virus.
According to the statement, a "longstanding" nurse staffing challenge combined with the recent COVID-19 spike is putting "extraordinary pressure" on hospital systems.
Along with the unmitigated spread of the virus in unvaccinated, the more contagious Delta variant is also to blame for the spike in cases. The seven-day moving average of COVID hospitalizations in the Austin area reached the Stage 5 threshold of 50 on Friday, triggering local health officials to ask residents to take action.
Local hospitals have a "surge plan" that includes utilization of "all available patient care space and employees within our hospitals and in other settings" that will go into effect when capacity is hit, according to the statement.
The hospitals are working on sourcing supplemental staff and emphasized that emergency care will still be available but it may involve patient transfers "in order to provide the most appropriate care."
Healthcare systems have hit this threshold previously during the pandemic: the city held an alternate care site at the Austin Convention Center from January to March of this year.
"Our responsibility during this pandemic continues to be balancing our readiness to care for patients with COVID-19, while making sure patients who depend on our hospitals receive needed and timely care," the statement said. "We do not want to see necessary non-COVID care delayed as it was during the early stages of the pandemic."
This story has been updated to after publication to include that Austin has reached the Stage 5 threshold.
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Austin legend Willie Nelson will perform at the Texas Capitol today, his first large performance since the pandemic began, closing out a four-day long march across Central Texas to build support for federal voting protections.
Organized by The Poor People's Campaign, the march began in Georgetown on Wednesday and will end with a 10 a.m. rally at the Capitol featuring appearances from former U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke and Rev. Dr. William Barber.
Willie Nelson (with Charlie Sexton & friends) will play a free concert at the Poor People's Campaign march for democracy & justice in Austin this Saturday! https://t.co/zZSA0BpbWA
Sign up to join us and see Willie at 10am Saturday: https://t.co/KrDPIFIvST
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 29, 2021
The rally calls on Congress to "stop attacks on democracy" by ending the filibuster, pass all provisions of the For the People Act, restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act, raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and pass permanent protections for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Nelson denounced election law proposals gaining traction in red states, such as Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3 in Texas, which 55 House Democrats foiled by fleeing to Washington, D.C., on July 12.
The bills would require additional ID verifications for mail-in ballots, allow partisan poll watchers "free movement" and prohibit elections officials from sending absentee ballot applications to voters who didn't request one.
"Laws making it more difficult for people to vote are unAmerican and are intended to punish people of color, the elderly and disabled," Nelson said. "If you can't win by playing the rules, then it's you and your platform–not everyone else's ability to vote."
The march is in the spirit of the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which protested the blocking of Black Americans' right to vote by Jim Crow laws.