HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is time to say aloha to 2021, and some are ringing in the new year with laughter.  

Brynn Matthews, a Kailua resident, was one of many who decided to spend New Year’s Eve at the Bill Maher show. This annual show took place with strict COVID-19 protocol. Those who attended were required to be vaccinated or present a negative COVID test.

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“Laughing off the year and just setting yourself in a good mood moving forward is a good way to start the year.”

Brynn Matthews, a Kailua resident

No food or beverages were served inside the event to ensure guests maintain their masks on.

Event promoter Rick Bartalini said, “People wanted to feel safe, we, of course, had our announcement that if you take your mask off or lower your mask you’ll be asked to leave and actually we did the announcement and people applauded.”

Matthews said the high COVID case count did make her nervous. She said she took a COVID test the day of the event out of precaution.

“Honestly it’s just kind of scary, I am boosted, but I think we all need to be safe,” Matthews added. “I just think the whole idea of that — you’re responsible for yourself — and if everybody does their part, then we can all come together safely.”

The coronavirus is not the only concern for medical professionals as illegal firework-related injuries happen every year. At least one 22-year-old man from Ewa Beach was in serious condition after injuring his hand, chest and face when an aerial firework exploded.

Dr. Tony Trpkovski said even those who are not playing with fireworks could see health impacts.

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“The biggest problem we see and that will be later tonight will be asthma, exacerbated due to the inhalation of all the smoke from the fireworks,” Dr. Trpkovski explained. “And those are just legal fireworks, everything people are lighting off makes that, everyone notices that smell after New Year’s.”