‘Yorktown Countdown’ NYE celebration taking place with limited capacity

Updated: Dec. 28, 2020 at 7:23 PM EST
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - While some New Year’s Eve celebrations have been canceled or become virtual because of the pandemic, a Mount Pleasant event will continue.

The Yorktown Countdown event will take place Thursday with reduced capacity at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Museum officials say the event is not a museum function.

Special Ops Events is hosting it and the company’s owner and CEO, Robert Patterson, says they have safety guidelines in place.

“Our company has done everything from catered events for nursing stations that are doing COVID testing, to police departments to hospitals to nursing homes,” Patterson said. “So this is not something that we just decided we were going to do on New Year’s, we’ve been working through this safely throughout the entire year so this is just a stepping stone towards other things that we’ve been doing.”

The South Carolina Department of Commerce approved the event organizer’s application to host the event.

Click here for more information on the Yorktown Countdown.

Patterson says capacity will be capped at 1,000 attendees for the event that will take part on the flight deck and in some of the indoor space of the USS Yorktown.

Safety protocols include temperature checks and a tiered entry system to minimize the number of people arriving at one time.

The event page says they encourage anyone at-risk to stay home and they are requiring event staff to wear masks and attendees to wear masks when possible.

Event organizers warn guests on the website saying, “By attending this event you acknowledge the risk of becoming exposed to or infected by COVID-19.” It goes on to say guests voluntarily agree to assume all the risks and accept sole responsibility for any exposure.

“We tell people straight up if you are in a job that you can potentially spread Covid or you or a family member is at risk or friends or whatever, this is not an event you want to attend,” Patterson said.

Patterson says the pandemic has had a brutal impact on event-based businesses. He knows a lot of people who have lost their business due to the pandemic.

“Everyone that comes together to do this is all going to get a little bit of a shot in the arm to get them through the slower times,” Patterson said.

The South Carolina Department of Environmental Control and Prevention encourages people to reduce the spread of getting COVID-19 by wearing face masks, physical distancing, not attending large gatherings and getting tested.

“This is not just about business, this is just about finding a way to celebrate, or at least like I said say goodbye to a year that we all want to say goodbye to,” Patterson said. “I respect everyone’s decision and opinion on anything on everything, but I also love having the freedom to choose. That’s what it’s all about and these folks coming to this event, have chosen to come and celebrate not against their will, they’re actually paying to come do this.”

Mayor of Mount Pleasant Will Haynie released the following statement:

“The permitting and regulating of large group social gatherings is handled at the state level by executive order of the Governor. As for this gathering, I defer to the state and the chairman of the Patriots Point Development Authority Board. In my personal opinion, I reiterate the advice of health care experts that large social gatherings during the time of a spike in Covid cases should be avoided.”

Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum officials say they have their own set of health measures in place to keep visitors safe when touring the museum. Patriots Point officials say that includes requiring masks, social distancing.

The museum says they’ve closed some exhibits where visitors are unable to stay at least six feet apart. They say their team installed ultra-violet air purification systems in every tour route air conditioning unit and they sanitize the ships regularly.

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