As they have done for other major holidays, Gov. Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders on Wednesday urged people to keep their New Year's Eve celebrations small and in line with public health precautions.
They also offered their own stark farewells to a difficult year.
"As we're approaching New Year's to close out 2020 — finally," Baker said, raising his voice and banging the podium he stood behind, "we're again urging everyone, if they can, to stay home. Please don't host big New Year's gatherings at your own home, and do try to spend the time with people you live with."
Any celebrations should be brief, outside, and with masks, he said.
With more than 12,000 deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, businesses shuttering and struggling, and widespread anxiety and isolation, Baker said that "based on the way I believe this virus has upended and disrupted a lot of what most people consider to be most precious," this year has "got to be one of the worst, certainly one of the worst ever."
Wrapping up her remarks at Wednesday's press conference, Sudders said, "If I do not see you before the holiday, I'm sure all of us will say good riddance to 2020. Please be safe, practice bubble fidelity, celebrate small and see you in 2021."
In Boston, First Night celebrations have moved online. (Read more about what to expect from the celebrations here.)
On Wednesday, Mayor Marty Walsh echoed the governor's remarks and urged residents to stay away from parties — even small gatherings.
"If you're thinking of having a party or attending one, I'm asking you to rethink those plans. Stay home," he said. "Consider making these connections virtually and doing something very different this year."
Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, and Walsh says if the city gets complaints of large parties, police will shut them down.
With reporting by State House News Service's Katie Lannan and the WBUR Newsroom