State Watch

Officials to decide if New York will hold Times Square New Years Eve celebration

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce this week whether or not the famed New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will be held, or if revelers will be permitted to gather publicly in the area, the Associated Press reported.

The mayor has said that he will make a decision on the fate of the event by Christmas Day, as the omicron variant has sent case rates surging in the city. 

In 2020, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square was muted as people were socially distanced in corrals largely made up of essential workers, notes the AP. 

Before omicron took hold, in November, de Blasio had said the event was set to come back in full force, with attendees required to either be vaccinated, or have a medical exemption and a negative test. 

“We want to welcome all those hundreds of thousands of folks, but everyone needs to be vaccinated,” de Blasio said in November of the New Year celebration. 

According to de Blasio, omicron will be a “fast, temporary phenomenon,” that he expects to surge in the coming weeks, then trail off, as most of the city is vaccinated. Approximately 90 percent of adults in New York have at least one vaccine dose, the AP noted. 

The mayor has said the surge will be far more manageable than COVID-19’s first appearance in New York in early spring of 2020.

“It’s important not to fight yesterday’s war,” de Blasio said, according to the AP. “It’s important to not think we are back in the spring of 2020 or even the winter of 2020. This is a highly vaccinated city where people have much more protection than ever before.”

New York reported a record high of 21,027 new COVID cases on Friday, with most occurring in New York City. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the cases were “a reminder that the pandemic is not over yet and we must take extra care to keep ourselves and each other safe,” according to the New York Times

De Blasio has announced that New York City will be giving residents 1 million free N95 masks and 500,000 free at-home, rapid tests to help combat the omicron variant, the AP reports. 

Tags Bill de Blasio COVID-19 pandemic in New York City Kathy Hochul New Year's Eve New York New York City SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant times square

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