NOTE: NBC 5 will offer a live stream of the press conference expected to begin around 11 a.m. Watch live in the player above.
Chicago's mayor is expected to discuss New Year's Eve safety plans as the city prepares to enter 2022 with a massive fireworks display and plenty of celebrations,
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city leaders are scheduled to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. (Watch live in the player above)
The press conference comes as Chicago prepares to hold its largest fireworks display ever this New Year's Eve, the city announced Monday.
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A 1.5-mile-long fireworks show will explode along the city's lakefront and Chicago River at midnight, marking the city's entry in 2022.
“This will be the largest fireworks display in the City’s history and one of the largest anywhere in the world,” Arena Partners CEO, John Murray, who is producing the event after a 2-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, said in a statement.
The fireworks show will air live on NBC 5's "A Very Chicago New Year" show and will be streamed live on the NBC Chicago app.
City officials say while the historic display comes at a time COVID cases are surging, they encourage residents to celebrate the holiday safely.
“I’m thrilled that we are able to welcome back our New Year’s Eve fireworks and hope to continue this tradition into the future,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Importantly, the display can be viewed outdoors where the spread of COVID-19 is less likely, so our residents and visitors should feel comfortable while masking up and social distancing or even watching safely from home. I look forward to welcoming a happy new year.”
Earlier this week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered a blunt message in hope of persuading residents to say home for the holiday.
"Omicron and delta are coming to your party," the governor said, as he urged people to take care and think twice about taking part in large gatherings.
When it comes to overall gatherings, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, acknowledged "people are going to do what they want to do." But she explained those who do decide to take part in celebrations can employ strategies to reduce the likelihood of contracting COVID-19.
"...If you're going to be in a gathering, there are a lot of people that you keep your mask on the entire time, and you put on a high-quality mask," she advised. "Then, when you have to take it off to eat or drink, keep some distance from other people so that you're not swapping air with people right in your face..."
Some people may think that once they arrive at a party, the masks can go away, the doctor said, but stated "that's absolutely the wrong strategy."
"Next year, you know, for 2023, you can have your... maskless face," she said. "For this year, let's do New Year's small, with our masks."