Christmas tree lighting events return in-person this year as COVID fatigue sets in
Despite rising infection rates and the variant, towns and cities are hosting tree lighting events in-person this year after settling for virtual celebrations last year.
Last year Fairfield officials lit the tree, but without a crowd or a big celebration. Local officials say the COVID-19 picture has evolved a lot over the past year to allow events like this to come back.
Fairfield Health Director Sands Cleary says officials have more information and tools now and the COVID-19 situation is safer for outdoor events than it was a year ago.
"Severe illness, we know that that's not happening at the same rate as it was before, one because we have vaccines and in a couple weeks, we'll have even more therapeutics that are available," says Cleary.
Fairfield residents say they're excited to see the yearly tradition return.
Matthew Festa says pandemic fatigue has set in after nearly two years of masking up and social distancing.
"I think to some extent people are just tired of not being able to live their life," he said. "I can't tell you how many times I've heard friends and family say, 'I'm just so over this.' It's hard to kind of keep the feeling of urgency all the time."
Yale Public Health professor Jaimie Meyer says even without mandates - masking, social distancing and booster shots are the way to fight another winter COVID wave.
"We could squash this now by people kind of turning back on their vigilance a little bit," said Meyer.