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San Antonio leaders urge residents to follow COVID-19 protocols during Christmas, New Year's celebrations

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Local elected leaders are urging local residents to keep their guard up against COVID-19 during holiday gatherings this Christmas and New Year's.

Texas Public Radio recaps pre-holiday warnings from Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg from a joint San Antonio City Hall news conference in late November.

Both elected officials urged local residents to follow COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks in large crowds to prevent a winter surge like last year. They say the best defense is vaccination and boosters.

While early reports on the omicron variant suggest a less severe illness, local leaders worry it could still pack hospitals and put stress on medical workers due to a large number of local residents who are not fully vaccinated. The number has been set as high as one out of every three residents.

Wolff urged parents to get their children vaccinated. Schools are now on Christmas Break.

"We're pleased to see that a lot of parents are having their children vaccinated and that's really important," he said.

Nirenberg urged residents to stay home and get tested if they suspect they have the virus so as not to be spreaders at holiday gatherings.

Nervous about visiting older relatives or going to a holiday gathering and want to get tested beforehand? Here’s what you need to know.

"Please keep your guard up. Let's enjoy the holidays together, and let's put this pandemic once and for all behind us in 2022," Nirenberg said.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is still offering H-E-B $100 gift cards to fully vaccinated Bexar County and San Antonio residents.

The gift cards will be given to individuals who completed the initial series of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a Metro Health vaccination site.

Only those who have not been vaccinated or have not yet received their one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or second dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine from a Metro Health clinic are eligible. Gift cards will not be given on a retroactive basis, according to a news release.

Residents who complete their vaccinations with other providers are not eligible.

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