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Fri, Jan. 28

Flagstaff hotel cancels pine cone drops due to virus threat

Residents and visitors to northern Arizona have enjoyed in years past Flagstaff’s  Great Pinecone Drop to bring in the new year. (Photo/Weatherford Hotel)

Residents and visitors to northern Arizona have enjoyed in years past Flagstaff’s Great Pinecone Drop to bring in the new year. (Photo/Weatherford Hotel)

FLAGSTAFF — A popular New Year's Eve event normally attended by thousands in shoulder-to-shoulder conditions in downtown Flagstaff has been canceled again due to public health threats from the continuing coronavirus outbreak.

The Weatherford Hotel said Dec. 30 it canceled the three drops scheduled Friday afternoon and night of a giant lighted metal pine cone to protect the health of the public and the downtown hotel's staff.

"We are devastated to make this tough call as we wanted nothing more than to bring back this great tradition," the hotel said in a statement.

With the hotel's cancellation of the pine cone drops, the city said it would cancel fireworks displays scheduled for 10 p.m. and midnight.

The pine crops also were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The event started in 1999 to honor the hotel's 100-year anniversary.

Arizona on Thursday reported 5,687 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 41 more deaths, increasing the state's pandemic totals to 1,373,767 cases and 24,212 deaths.

Virus-related hospitalizations rose slightly, with 2,323 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient rooms as of Wednesday, the Department's of Health Services reported.

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