Decision on Times Square New Year’s Eve event due this week


NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 1: The New Year’s Eve ball drops in a mostly empty Times Square on January 1, 2021, in New York City. On average, about one million revelers are drawn to the Crossroads of the World to watch performances and celebrate the New Year. This year a limited live audience of about 40 first responders and essential workers were allowed to watch the New Years’ ball drop from a secure area in Times Square. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/AP) — The fate of the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square hangs in the balance.

On Sunday New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said a decision will be made by Christmas on whether or not to hold the event as the COVID-19 omicron variant spreads rapidly throughout the city.

Last year’s celebration was a socially distanced affair, attended by small groups of essential workers. This November, de Blasio announced the event would come back “full strength” with a requirement that attendees show proof of vaccination and those unable to be vaccinated because of a disability show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.

De Blasio noted that most city residents are vaccinated, making the recent outbreak more manageable than when COVID-19 first appeared in early spring 2020.

Overseas, the Mayor of London decided to pull the plug on its in-person celebration.

“Due to the surge in Omicron cases, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel our New Year’s Eve event in Trafalgar Square,” said Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London. “The safety of Londoners must always come first.”

The London mayor cited record levels of COVID-19 across the city and the UK.

“I’m proud that we will still have an incredible broadcast spectacular to watch on our screen, which will showcase our great city to the rest of the world” Khan added.

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