‘Everyone come on down, we’re celebrating!’ Mayor de Blasio promises a ‘big, strong’ New Year’s Eve party in Times Square – but only the fully vaccinated are allowed
- Times Square will reopen on New Year’s Eve to fully vaccinated revelers
- Everyone over age five will have to show proof of full vaccination for COVID-19
- ‘We can finally get back together again. It’s going to be amazing,’ de Blasio said
- Mayor and his top advisors blew on kazoos to celebrate the announcement
Crowds will once again fill New York’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve, with proof of full COVID-19 vaccination required for revelers who want to watch the ball drop in person, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
‘We want it to be big, we want it to be full of life, we want it to be a great celebration,’ de Blasio said at a news conference. ‘A big, strong, full-strength celebration — It’s coming back, this New Year’s Eve, everyone come on down! We’re celebrating.’
The mayor and his top aides then blew on kazoos to mark the announcement.
‘Yes, we are proud to announce that Times Square, wonderful celebration in Times Square, the ball drop, everything, coming back full strength the way we love it,’ de Blasio said.
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Mayor Bill de Blasio blew a kazoo on Tuesday as he announced fully vaccinated revelers will be allowed to fill Times Square for the ball drop on New Year’s Eve
Last year there were mostly empty streets as officials told people to stay home and watch the ball drop on television, resulting in a sad and underwhelming affair
‘Hundreds of thousands of people there to celebrate. We can finally get back together again. It’s going to be amazing,’ he added.
Tom Harris, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said all spectators aged 5 and over will be asked to show proof of full vaccination and a valid photo ID.
People who can’t be vaccinated because of a disability will have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours and will be required to wear a mask, he said.
Security checkpoints will be in place to check documentation of those seeking to enter Times Square for the festivities.
Earlier this month, U.S. health authorities authorized the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for children aged 5 to 11.
‘We can finally get back together again,’ de Blasio told reporters, touting New York City’s recovery after more than a year of pandemic hardship. ‘It’s going to be amazing, it’s going to be a joy for this city.’
Small groups made up of essential workers were isolated in small holding pens last year
Slide to view: While revelers packed the square in 2019 (left) the 2020 party was sparse (right)
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 were no packed crowds of giddy revelers, jammed together cheek-by-jowl.
Instead there were mostly empty streets as officials told people to stay home and watch the ball drop on television.
Entertainers including Jennifer Lopez performed behind police barricades to small groups made up of essential workers who were isolated in small holding pens.
With the advent of vaccines, the city’s public celebrations have been on the upswing in 2021.
Two revelers watch a performance in Times Square during 2021 New Year’s Eve celebrations
The Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks once again welcomed crowds to gather and watch as fireworks lit up the sky, and some parades have returned to city streets.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will also be returning to pre-COVID form, with giant balloons guided by volunteer handlers making their way through the event’s Manhattan parade route, instead of the one-block stretch they were kept to last year.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony will be held on December 1, but organizers have not yet revealed details about whether public access will be allowed.