New Year’s Eve in Times Square still on, with smaller crowd

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NEW YORK – Revelers will nonetheless ring within the new yr in New York’s Instances Sq. subsequent week, there simply will not be as lots of them as typical underneath new restrictions introduced Thursday as town grapples with a spike in COVID-19 circumstances.


Viewing areas that usually accommodate about 58,000 individuals might be restricted to about 15,000 to permit for extra distancing, and everybody in attendance should present proof of vaccination and put on a masks, Mayor Invoice de Blasio stated in a information launch asserting the adjustments.

“There’s a lot to have fun and these further security measures will preserve the absolutely vaccinated crowd protected and wholesome as we ring within the New Yr,” de Blasio stated, noting town’s success in getting residents vaccinated whereas additionally maintaining companies open.

The added precautions for New Yr’s Eve in Instances Sq. have been spurred by the speedy unfold of the omicron variant within the Huge Apple, the place traces for testing have snaked round blocks in current days.

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On Tuesday, town set a one-day document with 17,200 new circumstances, although a real comparability to the variety of circumstances through the preliminary COVID-19 surge in spring 2020 is not possible as a result of assessments have been very restricted on the time.

Due to vaccinations, hospitalizations and deaths from the present surge are far fewer than on the pandemic’s top.

The brand new wave of circumstances has led to the cancellation of concert events, sporting occasions and Broadway reveals, however de Blasio has proven a powerful desire for having the annual Instances Sq. ball drop go on as deliberate — the final main occasion of his eight-year tenure, which ends Jan. 1.

Little greater than a month in the past, de Blasio gleefully introduced that a absolutely vaccinated crowd of lots of of hundreds of individuals can be again on the iconic celebration — donning goofy 2022-themed glasses and watching a crystal-clad ball drop at midnight — after it was restricted final yr to small teams of important staff.

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However that was earlier than omicron caught fireplace, forcing metropolis officers and occasion organizers to rethink simply how many individuals they needed to squeeze into the intense, billboard-lined vacationer haven recognized to some because the Crossroads of the World.

On Tuesday, the Fox community gave its verdict, pulling the plug on a deliberate stay broadcast from the New Yr’s Eve occasion. Different networks plan to air the festivities, together with Dick Clark’s New Yr’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC, the stalwart now hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

De Blasio stated together with Thursday’s announcement that town is monitoring the COVID-19 state of affairs and will impose further precautions if wanted. Among the many different adjustments introduced Thursday, revelers will not be allowed into viewing areas till 3 p.m., a lot later than in previous years.

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On New Yr’s Eve final yr, Instances Sq. was principally empty, with Jennifer Lopez and different artists performing behind police barricades. After vaccines grew to become broadly accessible within the U.S., town allowed crowds again to the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and different occasions.

“New York is the very best place on the planet to have fun New Yr’s Eve and now it is going to be one of many most secure towards COVID as nicely,” Mayor-elect Eric Adams stated in a written assertion endorsing the brand new precautions. “New Yorkers and guests alike can now take pleasure in Instances Sq. and the remainder of our metropolis as we ring in 2022.”

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