New Year’s Eve may look more familiar this year in Times Square, at least to those who are vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the New York Times.
“We want to welcome all those hundreds of thousands of folks, but everyone needs to be vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“Join the crowd, join the joy, join a historic moment as New York City provides further evidence to the world that we are 100 percent back.”
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Although the police are charged with the responsibility to confirm people are fully vaccinated (in addition to crowd control), the Times noted it will be a logistical puzzle to solve exactly how they will do it.
If anyone is not vaccinated because of a disability, they must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event and be required to wear a mask, according to the president of the Times Square Alliance.
Children younger than five years old will need to be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.
In a recent news conference, De Blasio rationalized the vaccine requirements because of the duration of the New Year’s event and the diversity of people that descend onto Times Square from around the world.
“When you’re outdoors with a few hundred thousand people packed close together for hours on end, it’s a different reality,” the mayor said. “You’re talking about a lot of people really close for long periods of time. It makes sense to protect everyone.”
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After eight years running New York City, the New Year’s Eve celebration will be De Blasio’s final day in office, potentially launching him to a possible bid for governor in the new year, the Times noted.
Public health experts warn the dynamics of COVID-19 are constantly changing, so predicting the number of infections around New Year’s Eve will be difficult right now.
From London to Munich, other international cities, are being more cautious.
London canceled its end-of-year fireworks display in October, Amsterdam canceled its New Year’s Eve celebrations this week due to a COVID-19 surge in infections, and Munich canceled its popular Christmas market.
But in Times Square this year, vaccinated revelers are welcome to party.
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“Times Square NYE 2022 will safely invite revelers back to Times Square to watch the Ball Drop in person, with proof of full vaccination and valid photo identification. The highly anticipated festivities will also be broadcast for television and internet audiences, and will include a virtual multi-media experience,” according to the Times Square Alliance website.
Click here for more information about the Times Square event.