New York City’s famed New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will proceed, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed today, but with tighter restrictions due to the Omicron outbreak.
Capacity is one big change. In a normal year, about 58,000 people can stand inside one of the viewing areas enclosed by metal gates and supervised by police officers. This year, that number will drop to 15,000, and no visitor will be admitted until 3 p.m. ET, which is much later than past years.
De Blasio had already said proof of vaccination would be required, and he reiterated that masks will also be a must.
ABC execs said the network is still evaluating the effect of the new setup on the production of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. Fox earlier this week decided to cancel its New Year’s Eve Toast and Roast special, which had been slated for Times Square.
New York partners with the non-profit Times Square Alliance, a coalition of business owners and other stakeholders, to put on the New Year’s event. In announcing the revised plan, the mayor’s office said it would continue to monitor the ongoing Covid situation along with the Alliance.
“New Yorkers have stepped up tremendously over the past year—we are leading the way on vaccinations, we have reopened safely, and every day we work toward building a recovery for all of us,” de Blasio said. “There is a lot to celebrate and these additional safety measures will keep the fully vaccinated crowd safe and healthy as we ring in the New Year.”
De Blasio’s eight-year run as mayor will end at midnight as the ball falls, as he passes the baton to Mayor-elect Eric Adams.
“New York is the best place in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve and now it will be one of the safest against Covid as well,” Adams said. “The Mayor has made the right move to take precautionary measures as we learn to live with Covid and fight the Omicron variant—and New Yorkers and visitors alike can now enjoy Times Square and the rest of our city as we ring in 2022.”
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