The traditional New Year’s ball drop celebration in Times Square will be exclusive to fully vaccinated people

New Year’s ball drop virtual event after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, New York, United States, January 1, 2021. REUTERS / Jeenah Moon (JEENAH MOON /)

All those who prove to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will be able to enjoy the traditional New Year’s ball drop in Times Square, the mayor of New York City announced Tuesday, Bill de Blasio.

The official said the event will return to the city “With all his strength”.

“We want to welcome all those hundreds of thousands of people, but everyone has to be vaccinated.”said de Blasio during a press conference. “Join the crowd, join the joy, join a historic moment where New York City provides further proof to the world that we are 100% back,” he said.

Archive image of Mayor Bill de Blasio.  EFE / EPA / PETER FOLEY
Archive image of Mayor Bill de Blasio. EFE / EPA / PETER FOLEY (PETER FOLEY /)

People who cannot present a vaccination certificate due to a disability will have to prove that they have received a negative result in a PCR test in the 72 hours prior to the event, and children under 5 years of age will have to be accompanied by someone who demonstrates their vaccination, according to information from The New York Times.

The fall of the ball will coincide with the de Blasio’s last day as mayor of New York. Then it will be succeeded by Eric Adams, which will take office on January 1, 2022.

Due to the changing nature of the coronavirus, public health experts said it is difficult to predict in what epidemiological situation the city will find itself by the end of the year.

“It will not be perfect”, said Denis Nash, Professor of Epidemiology at the City University of New York School of Public Health and Health Policy. “We have to assume that there will be people with COVID mixed in with the outdoor revelers.”he claimed, according to The New York Times.

People celebrate the ball drop in Manhattan's Times Square on December 31, 2018. (Christopher Lee / The New York Times)
People celebrate the ball drop in Times Square in Manhattan on December 31, 2018. (Christopher Lee / The New York Times) (CHRISTOPHER LEE /)

In addition, following the easing of restrictions on international travelers arriving in the United States, It is expected that a large number of tourists from different countries will also be present in Times Square, so the risk of contagion could be even higher.

Danielle Ompad, associate professor of epidemiology at New York University, urged people who choose to attend to be cautious.

“I understand that people are so far above this pandemic, and that people are getting vaccinated and our vaccination rates are high. But I still think it is important to be cautious, “he explained.

Other major cities in the world have canceled their Christmas and New Year celebrations. In October, the mayor of London said the city’s end-of-year fireworks show would be canceled and replaced by another type of celebration, while Amsterdam canceled its festivities this week due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases.


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