After a virtual ball drop last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of revelers will once again gather in Times Square to ring in the new year. All attendees must show proof of vaccination and photo ID to attend the December 31 event, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“Join the crowd, join the joy, join a historic moment as New York City provides further evidence to the world that we are 100 percent back,” the mayor said during a press conference.
All spectators must be fully vaccinated to attend. Those who cannot get vaccinated because of a disability must show proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the event. Children under the age of five who are not yet eligible must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult, according to Tom Harris, the president of the Times Square Alliance. Masks will be required for anyone not able to get vaccinated.
More details about the event are expected in the coming weeks, but today’s announcement gives people enough time to be fully vaccinated to attend the ball drop if they’re not already. Accepted vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinopharm or Sinovac.
The United States just reopened its borders for vaccinated foreign travelers last week after nearly 20 months of closure. The absence of tourists last year resulted in the loss of $60 billion in revenue and 89,000 jobs in New York alone, as the New York Times reported.
According to the city’s tourism agency NYC & Company, international visitors in New York City typically “stay longer and spend more,” making up 50 percent of visitor spending and 50 percent of hotel room nights sold.
Organized by the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, NYE 2022 will have security checkpoints for entry as usual, but this year, officials will also be there to check for proof of vaccination or negative test. And like every year, the event will be broadcast on television and live-streamed online.
“This year, we are ready and thrilled to welcome a full house of revelers back to Times Square to celebrate the New Year,” Harris said in a statement. “Now more than ever we need to come together to revive our favorite traditions with our loved ones–reflecting on a tough year behind us while looking forward to a new year with hope.”
Virtual experiences debuted by One Times Square owner Jamestown last year will return, including the virtual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, an app that lets users create a personalized avatar, explore a virtual Times Square, play games, and live stream the countdown to midnight.
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