New Year's Eve Times Square decision expected this week from Mayor de Blasio

Coronavirus update for NYC

BySonia Rincon, Eyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, December 20, 2021
Decision expected this week on NYE in Times Square
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Sonia Rincon reports on the upcoming decision on whether or not to have a traditional celebration for New Year's Eve in Times Square.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce this week if the traditional celebration in Times Square will go on, or if it will be modified due to the increase in COVID cases and spread of the omicron variant.

Still, plans were moving ahead for a more traditional celebration in Times Square, and later Monday, crews will set up the big 2022 that will light up to ring in the New Year.

"Right now, it is on, fully vaccinated, outdoors of course," de Blasio said Monday. "That's the plan. And if we need to make any more modifications, we will decide that within the course of this week."

He said any adjustments will be announced before Christmas.

"For the New Year's Eve celebration, that the eyes of the world are on," he said. "We have what we've done historically for years and years, we have the kind of model we used last year. We are looking at anything that will make this work best."

RELATED | NYC omicron surge to last 'a matter of weeks,' mayor says

Chantee Lans reports that he city will have eight new brick and mortar locations and 17 mobile trucks by Tuesday Testing hours will also be expanded.

Many are anxious to put 2021 in the past, but as the COVID surge in the city intensifies, the mayor is asking everyone to be prepared for a rough few weeks.

There number of daily positive cases are higher than any in recent memory, driven by the extremely contagious omicron variant.

So the question is, should the existing protocols change for the big Times Square celebration?

The mayor continues to stress that the event is outdoors and all attendees must be vaccinated, but that changes will be made as necessary.

Others are wondering if it is even possible to celebrate the holidays safely with friends or family.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi says boosters, rapid tests, outdoor and well ventilated spaces, and of course staying home if you feel even a little bit sick are they way to go.

He urges people to plan holiday gatherings with their most vulnerable family member in mind.

MORE NEWS: NY reports record number of new COVID cases as holiday travel ramps up

The holiday travel rush has begun just as New York set a new single-day record for positive COVID cases, two days in a row.

"Certainly, if you were planning to go to something where, you know, there was a crowded setting and you're someone with a weakened immune system, the level of risk in our community has changed," Dr. Chokshi said. "And so, that's what we're advising people, to make sure that they take that into account as they make their individual decisions."

Mayor-elect Eric Adams echoed that sentiment saying the personal decisions we make now, will have a lasting impact.

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