The iconic New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square will be back for the first time since the pandemic – but revelers wishing to attend in person will be required to show proof they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Attendees who cannot show proof of vaccination due to a disability will need to provide a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event in Manhattan.
‘We want to welcome all those hundreds of thousands of folks, but everyone needs to be vaccinated,’ New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference on 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.’
Times Square Alliance President Tom Harris detailed the policy at security checkpoints.
‘We will require spectators 5 and older who are eligible to be fully vaccinated. If you are unable to get vaccinated because of a disability, we will require proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours,’ Harris said.
‘Those under 5 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult, and anyone unable to get vaccinated must wear a mask if able to do so.’
The mayor said the vaccination requirement was announced in enough advance to allow anyone who wishes to attend the free event to get fully vaccinated.
Asked why vaccination proof will be required for the ball drop while it is not necessary for other outdoor activities in New York City like concerts, the mayor pointed to the scale and international nature of the event.
‘When you’re outdoors with a few hundred thousand people packed close together for hours on end, it’s a different reality,’ de Blasio said.
‘You’re talking about a lot of people really close for long periods of time. It makes sense to protect everyone.’
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