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Safe Communities of Wood County not providing free rides on New Year's Eve amid COVID-19 pandemic

An annual service that provides free rides home on New Year's Eve won't serve Wood County residents this year.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The sights and sounds of kissing 2020 goodbye will likely look different. Getting home from celebrations if you live in Wood County won't be the same either.

After seven years of providing free rides on New Year's Eve, Safe Communities of Wood County is not able to drive residents this year.

"We started thinking about this in September and October. We were like, what are we going to do? How can we put this plan into place, if we're there or if we're not there?" Safe Communities Coordinator Sandy Wiechman said.

In 2019, she says they gave rides to more than 200 people but this year, there are multiple COVID-19-related concerns that led to stopping the holiday service.

Those include meeting 6-feet social distancing, having enough vans and volunteers, properly sanitizing as well as the statewide 10 p.m. curfew.

"It's just really really hard knowing that we're not going to be out there. Even if you didn't give us a call, we're still driving around and if somebody needed a ride and had the availability to pick them up and take them home, we did," she said.

The group hopes to provide free rides again in the future, once they are safely able to.

For those who still plan to ring in the new year outside of their home, Wiechman recommends you arrange ways to get back home before the party starts.

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