“Yes, we are proud to announce that Times Square, wonderful celebration in Times Square, the ball drop, everything, is coming back in full force as we love it,” de Blasio said at a virtual news briefing. “Hundreds of thousands of people are there to celebrate. We can finally get back together. It’s going to be amazing.”
Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance, said all spectators aged 5 and over will be asked to show proof of full vaccination. People who cannot be vaccinated due to a disability must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, he said.
The New Year’s Eve celebration, perhaps the city’s most iconic public gathering, was a socially distant affair during the height of the pandemic last year.
There was no packed crowd of dizzying party-goers squeezed cheek-for-jaw. Instead, there were mostly empty streets when officials asked people to stay home and watch the ball fall on the television. Entertainers, including Jennifer Lopez, appeared behind police barricades for small groups of key workers.
With the advent of vaccines, the city’s public festivities have been on the rise in 2021. Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks once again welcomed crowds to gather and watch, while fireworks lit up the sky and some parades have returned to the city’s streets. .
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will also return to pre-COVID form, with giant balloons guided by volunteer traders on their way through the event’s Manhattan parade route instead of the one-block stretch they were held for last year.
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