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'We’ll be in worse shape' | Some still plan to celebrate despite warning to cancel gatherings

Mass gatherings for New Year's Eve, even the small ones at home, have Harris County health officials worried about the spread of COVID-19.

HOUSTON — The rain isn’t the only thing washing away our New Year’s Eve plans. Across the world, the time honored tradition will look very different.

Australia is scaling back their fireworks, and the Times Square ball will drop in front of an empty street.

Here in Houston, City Centre canceled their fireworks along with Kemah Boardwalk.

But despite the county’s emergency warning sent out Wednesday urging residents to cancel gatherings, some still plan to celebrate.

RELATED: 'Cancel all gatherings' | Harris County issues alert as COVID rate surges

“We expect that people are still going to gather, but we’re hoping that people don’t, and that they continue to listen to our messaging,” Dr. Maria Rivera, with Harris County Public Health, said.

Restaurants are booking reservations, and celebrations are still happening.

But it’s those mass gatherings, even the small ones at home, that Dr. Rivera says are most concerning.

“People gathering around the dinner table, sharing food, we know that’s a place transmission happens,” she said.

She’s urging people to only gather with those already in your household.

She also said if you go out, like to a restaurant, only do so with your household, wear your mask and keep your distance from others.

In a county where COVID cases are still rising “were starting to see the increases after Christmas, even though it was only last week,” she explained.

Another holiday could be devastating.

“We’re very, very concerned that in the midst of all this rise, if people continue to gather and gather today, that we’ll be in worse shape in the next couple of weeks,” she said.