By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – First Night Boston returns Friday with some new additions – COVID-19 rapid test kits along with vaccines and booster shots.

The New Year’s Eve celebration will go on as planned even though Boston’s positivity rate is 9.5 percent, the highest it’s been during the pandemic. Last year’s event was virtual.

At a news conference Thursday, Mayor Michelle Wu said the city is taking steps to make the festivities safe for everyone by offering vaccine and booster clinics to all visitors and by moving all indoor events outside.

“We are in a winter surge, driven by the Omicron variant, and we need to take action to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities at-large,” Wu said.

Frederica Williams, the president and CEO of the Whittier Street Health Center, said the state is giving them 1,000 rapid COVID-19 test kits to hand out at the event.

From noon to 7 p.m. on Friday people can get vaccinated or boosted in Copley Square. After the family fireworks at 7 p.m., vaccines and booster shots will be available inside the Boston Public Library. No appointments are necessary.

“Everyone, even those who are vaccinated, should consider getting a COVID-19 test, if possible, before gathering indoors,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu of the Boston COVID-19 Advisory Committee.

Wu urged anyone who’s planning to come into the city to take the T because of all the street closings and parking restrictions in place to limit traffic congestion. The T will be fare-free after 8 p.m.

For more information on First Night Boston 2022, click here. Staff