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ST. LOUIS — The new year is upon us, and many St. Louis residents are eager to celebrate the upcoming year.

“We are so excited,” Monica Ledesma said before heading to a New Year’s Eve party in Central West End. “[We are] trying to find some normalcy. We are all vaccinated and ready to go.”

The new year has brought a big change from the lack of festivities in 2021, but it hasn’t been entirely different.

Data released by the Department of Health showed a 24% increase in seven-day average COVID positive rates. Due to increased cases in the area, the Gateway Arch Park Foundation announced the remainder of the annual Winterfest season would be canceled.

This holiday season doesn’t come without some positives.

Local restaurants are enjoying a significant change from shutdowns in 2020.

Kreis’ Steakhouse and Bar has been serving the St. Louis community for over 70 years, but 2020 put most of that service on hold.

“We were carry-out only,” general manager Jeffrey Daniels said of last year’s holiday season. “It’s business as usual, just not quite as big a crowd.”

The restaurant still follows CDC recommendations, including the use of masks for employees, but the change from 2020 has been a welcomed one this New Year’s Eve holiday.

More positive changes will be a welcomed sight for all in 2022.