Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration scaled back amid COVID spike, de Blasio announces

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NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 31: A general view during New Year’s Eve 2018 in Times Square at Times Square on December 31, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK — The city that never sleeps will ring in the New Year a little more quietly this year amid a surge in COVID cases.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had planned for the return of a full-scale celebration, but then New York’s daily COVID cases climbed. He announced plans Thursday for additional protections to make sure the event would be safe.

“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.

The viewing areas normally hold around 58,000 people, but this year only around 15,000 people will be allowed to attend to allow for social distancing.

Guests also won’t be allowed to enter until 3 p.m., which is later than in previous years.

They’ll need to bring proof of full vaccination with valid photo identification. Attendees will also be required to wear masks.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams called de Blasio’s decision the right move.

“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,” he said.

More on the vaccination and attendance rules:

  • As of of Dec. 31, guests will need to be at least 14 days past their second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine OR at least 14 days after their single dose of an approved single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Unvaccinated minors under the age of 5 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult to enter the event.
  • Face coverings are required for unvaccinated minors who are medically able to tolerate a face-covering. 
  • People 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.

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