"People need to be reminded that there's a reason to celebrate."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the Bay Area gears up to celebrate the end of 2021, New Year's Eve celebrations in San Francisco were unusually quiet.
Normally, the Embarcadero would be packed full with people.
But after the city canceled their fireworks display for the second year in a row, many had to find a different way to ring in the new year.
"People need to be reminded that there's a reason to celebrate I think. It's easy to get caught up in all of the drama that's going on in the world right now," said Erica Land.
At Waterbar restaurant, they were busy early Friday evening preparing to welcome their first guests for a sold-out new year's menu.
Staff here tell ABC7 the goal is to provide diners with a fun but also safe evening.
"Everyone has to be masked when they come in. Certainly checking vaccines and IDs when they come in. Staff will be fully masked the entire time," said Waterbar's director of dining, David Hanna.
Across town in the city's Castro neighborhood, others wanted to ring in the new year in a more subdued way.
"We just came out to get some dinner, have some drinks, before we head back and probably lay low tonight," said Veronica Surrette-Fahey, who was celebrating with friends.
Many celebrating in Santeria restaurant say while they're disappointed the Omicron variant has put a damper on another New Year's Eve, they're happy to be able to spend the night close to home with family and friends.
"Actually I'm really happy I'm not traveling and we live in such a great city that I think, you know, just enjoy San Francisco," who was celebrating with his partner.
Because after another difficult pandemic year, many say they're ready to wave goodbye to 2021 one way or another.
"Thank you very much, good riddance. And we'll hopefully be better off in 2022," Hanna said.