Times Square New Year's Eve will not have public audience
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The Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration in New York will not have a public audience this year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment announced Tuesday that the event will not allow people to gather in Times Square on Dec. 31 this year and instead will be broadcast for TV and internet viewers.  

Organizers for the New Year’s Eve celebration had previously said in September that the event would be mostly virtual in order to follow social distancing guidelines during the pandemic. 

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“Safety of New Yorkers and participants is the priority of Times Square New Year’s Eve 2021,” the organization’s statement said. 

The event’s planners said they have consulted medical experts throughout the planning of the celebration and will ensure all festivities follow New York’s restrictions. All people who enter the specified areas will need to follow testing, screening and safety guidelines. 

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment said all people "will remain masked at all times" except when performing and "will adhere to distancing regulations throughout the production site."

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment also declared that this year’s special guests will be the “Heroes of 2020,” including first responders, frontline and essential workers and their families “who sacrificed so much in 2020 to provide care and support for their communities.”

New York families of first responders, frontline and essential workers will represent the heroes at the event while located in individual household sealed zones for social distancing. 

“The Special Guest plays a pivotal role in the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, most notably by representing resounding resolve and a determined spirit, at a time when the world collectively awaits a renewed beginning,” Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement. 

“This year, it feels most appropriate to shine a spotlight on the individuals who are tirelessly leading our nation through hard times with unshakable strength, determination and poise, as well as their families, who deal with their own set of sacrifices,” he continued.