New York City continues to push forward despite record COVID-19 case numbers in the city, and across the country. On Friday, it will hold a modified New Year’s Eve ball drop at Times Square.

“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,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a Thursday interview with the TODAY Show.

In 2020, revelers were banned from the celebration as a result of the pandemic, and only a few essential workers, media members and police were at Times Square as the ball dropped.

This year, the city will require revelers to show proof of vaccination and photo ID and to wear masks. The usual event hosts 58,000 guests, but the number of attendees this year is limited to 15,000 people. Entry will not be allowed after 3 p.m. ET,” de Blasio stated last week.

Major cities across the country are considering cancelling New Year celebrations due to a surge in cases. Atlanta City canceled its annual Peach Drop while San Francisco scrapped its New Year’s show.

Other cities are also moving ahead with New Year’s Event celebration plans, including Chicago, which will host its largest ever New Year’s fireworks display after canceling the show last year. Indoor viewing locations will require proof that you have been vaccinated or that your COVID testing has failed.

“If this were indoors, it would be a no-brainer, it would have been canceled,”  Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a Wednesday news conference. “But since it’s outdoors, and we’re spacing people out, we have some confidence that we’re going to minimize and mitigate.”

Rome, Venice, and many other cities around the world are cancelling plans. Paris scrapped its fireworks show over the Champs-Élysées. London pulled out of its New Year celebration at Trafalgar Square. And Tokyo canceled its world-famous Shibuya Crossing countdown.

As the highly contagious omicron variant spreads, New York City reported record numbers of new COVID cases at more than 39,590 on Tuesday.

While performers including KT Tunstall, Journey and Karol G will take the stage during New York City’s ball drop, LL Cool J announced he would not be performing after testing positive for COVID-19, Rolling Stone reported.

De Blasio still believes that the celebration of New Years is possible due to the city’s high vaccine rates. According to data from the city, approximately 80% have had at least one shot and 72% are completely vaccinated.

He stated that “Shutdowns don’t work.” Get people vaccinated.

Contributing to The Associated Press

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.



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