New Year’s Eve, Mayoral Inauguration Affected by COVID-19 Surge

This year’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will be a scaled-back event. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new protocols for the event, including fewer spectators and vaccination requirements. Mayor-Elect Eric Adams is also adjusting plans for inauguration ceremony taking place the first week of January.

All Times Square visitors above the age of five will be required to show proof of vaccination as well as a photo identification at the event. Additionally, all spectators will be required to wear a mask for the duration of the event.

The Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration typically attracts over 58,000 in-person viewers. This year, the event’s viewing areas will be limited to 15,000 people. Entry to the event areas will not be allowed until 3 pm on New Year’s Eve.

These alterations come days after Mayor Bill de Blasio said the event should be able to continue as in previous years. A recent surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant has posed concerns for events in the city, and protocols for the New Year’s celebration were determined in collaboration with health and medical experts to ensure the safety of spectators.

Mayor-elect Adams inaugural event was set to be held indoors, at the Kings Theatre rather than the traditional City Hall venue. The Kings Theatre location would honor Adams and two other citywide leaders, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and the incoming Comptroller Brad Lander, who are all from Brooklyn. 

Originally, the inauguration was to be a ticketed event for the politicians’ family members, city officials and other New Yorkers. However the three politicians said in a joint statement that due to the concerns surrounding the omicron variant, the inauguration ceremony would be postponed.

The statement said, “After consulting with public health experts, we have decided that our joint inauguration ceremony will be postponed to a later date in order to prioritize the health of all who were planning to attend, cover, and work on this major event.”

The mayoral inauguration was planned to take place on Jan. 1 and a rescheduled date has not yet been announced.

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