NEW YORK – New York City will press ahead with its 2022 New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square despite record numbers of COVID-19 infections in the city and across the country.
After banning revelers from Times Square a year ago due to the pandemic, city officials previously announced plans for a scaled-down New Year’s Eve party with smaller crowds and required vaccinations.
The city said it would limit the number of people who could witness the descent of a 6-ton crystal-encrusted ball above a crowd of about 15,000 in-person spectators. The expected crowd is well below the 50,000 revelers originally envisaged by organizers.
De Blasio said on NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday that he wanted to show the world that the city is “working its way through this.”
The city’s next mayor, Eric Adams, will be sworn in in Times Square shortly after the ball drops.
Doubts swirled over whether the city should cancel this year’s party, as the city posted a record number of COVID cases in the days leading up to it, even though some cities like Atlanta had decided to cancel. their own celebrations.
In many places around the world, plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations are being muted or canceled due to the highly contagious omicron variant.
New Zealand was one of the first places to celebrate the New Year with a display of low-key lights projected on Auckland landmarks including the Sky Tower and Harbor Bridge.
Australia also held celebrations, including the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House fireworks, despite an explosion in cases.
So far, at least, the omicron surge hasn’t resulted in the same levels of hospitalizations and deaths as previous outbreaks — especially among those vaccinated — offering a glimmer of hope for 2022.