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

National

People wait in a long line to get tested for COVID-19 in Times Square, New York, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. Just a couple of weeks ago, New York City seemed like a relative bright spot in the U.S. coronavirus struggle. Now it’s a hot spot, confronting a dizzying spike in cases, a scramble for testing, a quandary over a major event and an exhausting sense of déjà vu. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — Tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will still go on, just not with as many revelers as usual because of COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday, Dec. 23.

Viewing areas that normally accommodate about 58,000 people will be limited to about 15,000 to allow for more distancing, and everyone in attendance must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask.

Get daily news, weather, and breaking news alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here

The changes were made as the Big Apple grapples with a spike in virus cases, fueled by the rapid spread of the omicron variant. On Tuesday, the city set a one-day record with 17,200 new cases.

The surge has led to the cancellation of concerts, sporting events, and Broadway shows, but de Blasio has shown a strong preference for having the annual Times Square ball drop go on as planned.

Little more than a month ago, de Blasio gleefully announced that a fully vaccinated crowd of hundreds of thousands of people would be back at the iconic celebration after it was limited last year to small groups of essential workers. But that was before omicron caught fire.

De Blasio said Thursday that the city is monitoring the situation and will announce additional precautions if needed. Among the other changes announced Thursday, revelers won’t be allowed into viewing areas until 3 p.m., much later than in past years.

On New Year’s Eve last year, Times Square was mostly empty, with Jennifer Lopez and other artists performing behind police barricades to small groups made up of essential workers.

After vaccines became widely available in the U.S., the city allowed crowds back to the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and other events.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss