NEW YORK - Vaccinated people will be allowed back into Times Square for the annual New Year's Eve countdown at the end of 2021. The ball dropped into nearly deserted streets last year due to the pandemic.
"This New Year's Eve, this year, Times Square, everyone come on down, we're celebrating," said Mayor Bill de Blasio flanked by youngsters blowing noisemakers. "Join the crowd. Join the joy. Join the historic moment."
Protocols will be in place to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
"Hundreds of thousands of people there to celebrate. We can finally get back together again. It's going to be amazing," said de Blasio.
New Year's Eve 2022
The Times Square Alliance is in charge of the event. It traditionally does a confetti test a few days before New Year's Eve and does a ball drop test before the big day, as well.
The organizers of the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square called the 2020 event "virtually enhanced" with just a few dignitaries at the event.
Revelers must show proof of COVID vaccination and ID to enter the gathering area. Those who cannot be vaccinated due to a disability must show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours.
Those under 5 years old must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.
Anyone unable to be vaccinated must wear a mask.
"We expect a large, wonderful celebration. We're going to have some clear smart rules to keep everyone safe," de Blasio said.
More details regarding the festivities will be available at TSQ.org.
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.