Amid a rise in Covid-19 cases in New York City that has canceled some Broadway performances, the city will go ahead for now with plans to welcome back vaccinated revelers to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve.
“We’re going to watch very carefully,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. “It’s still more than two weeks away. And if at any point we need to alter the plan, we will.”
“Because it is an event where people are fully vaccinated and all outdoors, right now that’s something we’re going forward with,” he said of the Times Square event, which was announced in November.
Cases of Covid-19 have been on the rise in New York City. The new heavily mutated omicron variant that experts believe is more transmissible has also been found in the city and is spreading, according to health officials.
Several Broadway performances were canceled in recent days due to positive Covid-19 cases or test results — including “Hamilton,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” and most recently “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which called off Thursday night’s performance.
Broadway went dark at the start of the pandemic and only largely began reopening in September.
Last December, as the pandemic raged and with vaccines not widely available, New York City held a Times Square celebration without the large in-person crowds.
This year the crowds will be welcomed back to Times Square, but they will have to show proof of full vaccination.
“The great advantage is, outdoors and fully vaccinated,” de Blasio said.
The planned return of in-person crowds comes as more Americans are vaccinated and also returning to their traditional holiday habits.