The famous celebration of New Year in Times Square, New York, will be drastically reduced by the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday, as the Omicron variant fuels an “astonishing” escalation of Covid-19 cases.
Typically some 58,000 New Yorkers gather to witness the fall of the huge ball announcing the arrival of the new year, but next week the capacity will be reduced to 15,000 attendees, who must wear a mask and prove that they have been vaccinated.
Additional health measures “will keep the fully vaccinated crowd safe and healthy as we ring in the New Year,” de Blasio said.
Times Square was practically empty on New Year’s Eve last year, and only essential workers and guests could see the ball drop from areas with social distancing.
Various cities of the world like Paris and London have canceled their festivities to ring in the New Year due to the advance of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.
New York reported an “astonishing” number of new cases of Covid-19, nearly 11,000, across the city’s five boroughs on Wednesday, the mayor noted.