New York City to Scale Back New Year’s Eve Celebration in Times Square
NEW YORK — Revelers hoping to ring in 2022 in New York City’s iconic Times Square are going to have to wear face masks, practice social distancing and show proof of being fully vaccinated along with a photo ID, the city’s outgoing mayor said on Thursday.
In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, fewer people will be allowed into the intersection where the world’s most famous ball drops in the final seconds of New Year’s Eve, a decision made in consultation with health and medical experts.
On a typical New Year’s Eve, roughly 58,000 people cram into viewing areas for the big event; this year, the city will allow only 15,000 to enter those areas.
In addition, those planning to attend the big ball drop won’t be allowed into viewing areas until 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, much later than in previous years.
“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,” said de Blasio in a statement announcing the measures.
“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,” he said.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who will be sworn in on New Year’s Day, applauded the soon to be former mayor, saying de Blasio is right “to take precautionary measures as we learn to live with COVID and fight the omicron variant.”
“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.
“New Yorkers and visitors alike can now enjoy Times Square and the rest of our city as we ring in 2022,” he said.
In rolling out the plan, de Blasio said the city, in partnership with the Times Square Alliance, will continue to monitor the situation and take additional precautions and measures in the coming days if needed.
At present, the city’s vaccination policy for Times Square is as follows:
Event organizers will require full vaccinations for all in-person revelers.
By “fully vaccinated” they mean the individual reveler will have had their second dose of a two dose COVID-19 vaccine or single dose of an approved single dose COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to Dec. 31, 2021.
Attendees who are age 5 or over must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the event.
Proof of vaccination must include a Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization approved COVID-19 vaccine. These are Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinopharm or Sinovac.
Unvaccinated minors under the age of 5 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult to enter the event.
The vaccinated adult must present proof of a Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization approved COVID-19 vaccine. Face coverings are required for unvaccinated minors who are medically able to tolerate a face-covering.
Persons who are unable to get vaccinated because of a disability will be required to present proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to the event.
“This year’s holiday season may not be the one we had hoped for, but we can still have a happy holiday season,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “All New Yorkers should get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. Wear a quality face mask and stay home if you’re feeling sick, no matter how mild your symptoms.”