TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – For the second year in a row, Taos is canceling its big New Year’s Eve party on the Plaza. However, COVID isn’t the only reason behind the sudden change in plans this year.

“In the past four or five years that we’ve had the New Year’s Eve celebration, it’s been a fantastic event,” said Taos Mayor Daniel Barrone.

The Town of Taos has canceled its New Year’s Eve celebration due to concerns of winter weather advisories. A Facebook post on the Town of Taos Events page states that public safety concerns regarding upcoming winter weather advisories by the National Weather Service have led to the cancelation of the event.

Severe weather is anticipated on Friday, Dec. 31 through the morning of Saturday, Jan. 1. The post, issued by the Town of Taos reports that challenges including the threat of high winds, icy conditions, and potential snowfall make it impossible to go forward with the event safely.

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“There’s still concern that if we have another, even close to the size of a storm that we had, that it could continue to knock out power and we just don’t want to overtax police and fire,” said Barrone.

The Town of Taos states that there is concern about whether the upcoming storm will have similar conditions as the recent storm in which case, town personnel will be needed in a public safety capacity to handle snow removal, respond to accidents, downed trees, and possible power and heating issues.

On Wednesday afternoon, the governor declared a State of Emergency in Taos County due to that storm which will provide up to $750,000 for repairs and recovery efforts. Now they’re bracing for round two.

Another concern is the recent surge in COVID cases. Mayor Barrone says their hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with COVID patients, and hosting a party that draws in up to 1,600 people, doesn’t seem like a good idea.

“We have a very small rural hospital,” said Barrone. “With hospitals around us not taking patients, we’re very concerned if we get any more COVID patients, that we will not have a place to put them.”

Taos reports that the New Year’s Eve tradition will continue next year and residents can look forward to upcoming events including concerts and the Fourth of July celebration.