POINT MUGU, Calif. -- Despite warnings from public health officials to stay home on New Year's Eve, a number of public gatherings took place throughout Southern California, including another maskless event hosted by actor Kirk Cameron.
In recent weeks, Cameron has openly defied COVID-19 mandates and hosted two caroling events in Thousand Oaks as the region deals with a surge in deaths and cases. Few, if any, could be seen wearing masks or distancing from each other at those events.
The 80s sitcom star hosted another event Thursday night in Malibu.
"We're hoping that we're going to have hundreds of people here. Please come and join us by candlelight as we sing and as we pray for our country," he said in a video posted to his Instagram page.
City officials said they are aware of an unpermitted, planned event and are coordinating with law enforcement and are "attempting to reach the organizer to inform them that they cannot hold an event in Malibu."
Though it's unclear if the event was moved at the direction of city officials, groups of people were seen on the beach at Point Mugu for the faith-based event around 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
State Senator Henry Stern on Wednesday took to Twitter to speak out against the event.
In a separate Instagram post, Cameron, an outspoken anti-mask advocate, cited the recovery rate of the virus when trying to explain why his events are justified.
"I'm not trying to endanger people, I'm outside under the stars, giving people hope," he said.
In addition to Cameron's event, Christian activist Sean Feucht is also reportedly planning a series of New Year's gatherings in the Los Angeles area, one day after hosting another event on Skid Row.
The so-called "outreach event" is expected to take place at a homeless tent in Echo Park. Feucht is also hosting another planned event at Higher Vision Church in Valencia.
In a statement, the church said while it is not an "official" church event, they are providing the outdoor venue and some volunteer services.
In other areas across Southern California, much smaller gatherings took place. Car enthusiasts gathered in Pasadena for their annual New Year's Eve Rose Parade cruise, even though the world-famous show had been canceled.
Law enforcement officers responded and checked on the crowd, but did not order them to disperse.
"Local PD came by and said everything is okay as long as long as you wear your face mask and no drinking in public and, you know, keep the peace," said Albert Vasquez.
Officials fear the current surge will get even worse in January as a result of gatherings during Christmas and New Year's.