De Blasio says Times Square celebration ‘moving forward’ despite omicron surge
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has said that the city will carry on with its New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square despite spiking COVID-19 cases.
“We want to show that we’re moving forward, and we want to show the world that New York City is fighting our way through this,” de Blasio said Thursday on NBC’s “Today.”
While spectators were not permitted at last year’s celebration, the mayor’s office announced last week that the event to ring in 2022 would allow attendees but be scaled back. Only 15,000 attendees will be permitted, and visitors cannot enter until 3 p.m.
De Blasio said vaccinations combined with social distancing and masking requirements would make the event feasible.
It comes as holiday celebrations have been canceled around the world amid a surge in COVID-19 infections. The British royal family canceled their annual Christmas gathering, and Greece banned public Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“We’ve got to send a message to the world. New York City’s open,” de Blasio said, adding that the solution to rising cases would be “doubling down on vaccinations.”
New York state’s data showed more than 67,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday as cases across the country have hit record highs.
New York City’s incoming mayor, Eric Adams (D), plans to be sworn in at the the Times Square New Year’s celebration, his team announced Wednesday.
“Times Square has long been synonymous with the New Year — a place of excitement, renewal, and hope for the future,” Adams said in a statement. “These are the same themes that animated my campaign and will inform my mayoralty, as I prepare to lead the city out of this challenging period.”
De Blasio recently said that he would soon make a decision about a future gubernatorial campaign after months of rumors that he would challenge Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).