New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square to be scaled back because of Covid

December 27, 2021

Image by Anthony Quintano via Flickr

After announcing last month that this year’s Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration will return to maximum capacity, Mayor Bill de Blasio broke the news on Thursday that the celebration will be scaled back to protect attendees from the Omicron variant. Usually hosting 58,000 guests, the celebratory event will be reduced to 15,000 attendees and include additional safety measures like the use of masks. Those planning on taking part in the celebration must provide full proof of vaccination with photo identification.

Guests won’t be able to enter the socially-distanced viewing areas until after 3:00 p.m., later than previous years in which guests typically stand around for many hours preparing for the event. City and Times Square Alliance officials will monitor the situation as the week progresses and we get closer to Friday’s celebration.

Those unable to get vaccinated because of a disability must show proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before the event. Children over the age of five will be required to show proof of vaccination, and those under five years of age must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

“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,” de Blasio said. “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.”

One Times Square’s owner, Jamestown, is bringing back its VYNE app for those who want to celebrate from the safety of their homes. The app brought the One Times Square’s New Year’s Eve celebration to over 3.7 million people around the world in 2020.

“We applaud the leadership of Mayor de Blasio in finding a way to welcome revelers into Times Square on New Year’s Eve in an even safer way than we originally planned,” Tom Harris, President of the Times Square Alliance, said.

“This year revelers will be fully vaccinated, masked, and we will have reduced occupancy in the viewing areas. We understand that everyone will not be able to be here but welcome them to experience New Year’s Eve in Times Square from our live webcast, on one of the networks or on the VNYE app.”

The event will be livestreamed at,, and, beginning at 6:00 p.m. when the ball is raised above One Times Square. Viewers can expect a plethora of live musical performances, interviews, and other events to build the anticipation leading up to the ball drop.


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