New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square scaled back amid rising COVID cases

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New York City’s well-known New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will implement further security measures this year as COVID-19 cases rise statewide, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced Thursday.

“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 stated in a statement. 

This year’s celebration will host 15,000 folks as a substitute of its normal crowd of 58,000. Visitors ages 5 and older are required to be absolutely vaccinated and put on face masks. Those who’re unable to get vaccinated attributable to a incapacity shall be required to current proof of a unfavourable COVID-19 PCR check taken inside 72 hours of the occasion. And unvaccinated minors are required to be accompanied by a completely vaccinated grownup.

Visitors won’t be allowed into Times Square till 3:00 p.m. native time, which is way later than earlier years, based on the mayor’s office. 

Confetti flies after the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball drops in a virtually empty Times Square, early Friday, January 1, 2021, as the realm usually filled with revelers remained closed off as a result of ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Craig Ruttle / AP

“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,” Mayor-elect Eric Adams stated in a press release. “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.”

The up to date plans come as New York sees report numbers of latest COVID-19 cases all through the state. According to the New York Department of Health, the state reported an 8.6% optimistic check rate over the previous seven days, and greater than 28,900 optimistic assessments on Tuesday alone. 

Multiple Broadway exhibits quickly shut down this month in the wake of rising cases. And Radio City canceled its remaining “Christmas Spectacular” exhibits final week.

The spike in cases comes as well being officers worldwide specific concern concerning the fast-spreading Omicron virus variant, which has turn out to be the dominant pressure of COVID-19 in the nation. 

But regardless of the unfold, each de Blasio and New York Governor Kathy Hochul have tried to keep away from shutdowns by making extra testing obtainable and urging residents to get absolutely vaccinated.

“We should avoid lockdowns,” de Blasio stated in a briefing Monday. “We should avoid shutdowns. We should avoid restrictions. I’ve said this now for weeks and weeks. We can avoid all those things by getting more people vaccinated.”

Tori B. Powell

Tori B. Powell is a breaking information reporter at CBS News. Reach her at [email protected]

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