Usually, there are 58,000 people allowed in viewing areas, the mayor's office said. This year, there will be just about 15,000 people allowed. Also, visitors will not be allowed in until 3 p.m., much later than previous years. The new requirements are in addition to a vaccination requirement that was already in place for almost all attendees over the age of five-years-old. […] The announcement came as New York City has seen rising Covid cases and positivity rates largely attributed to the omicron variant. Omicron is highly transmissible but studies have shown it is less severe than other variants.
“There is a lot to celebrate and these additional safety measures will keep the fully vaccinated crowd safe and healthy as we ring in the New Year,” De Blasio said.
Times Square Alliance, the organization that leads preparations for the ball drop, said it will require proof of full vaccination against the coronavirus for most attendees.
“We know that vaccination is the key and we know boosters are particularly effective against omicron. Our health care leaders have been abundantly clear about that,” the mayor stated.
“We focus, obviously, every day on the Covid crisis, on the challenge of omicron and how we overcome it, and I'm very confident the city will overcome it. In fact, it looks like it's going to be a very brief period — intense and challenging — but very brief, and we have a lot of tools to fight back,” he added.
More details to follow.