Only fully-vaccinated revellers will be allowed at fabled Times Square New Year's Eve bash
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Crowds will return to Times Square to ring in 2022, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week, with proof of vaccination required for entry.
The iconic ball drop, which traditionally draws millions of revellers, is back after festivities were scaled back last year amid the pandemic. De Blasio, blowing on a noisemaker during a news conference, said the city expected a "full-strength" celebration.
"Everyone come on down," he said. "We are proud to announce the ball drop, everything, coming back full strength, hundreds of people there to celebrate. We can finally get back together again. It's going to be amazing."
Those unable to get vaccinated due to a disability will be allowed to attend if they provide a negative coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours. Children under 5, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, must be accompanied by an adult who has been vaccinated.
Revellers have celebrated New Year's Eve at Times Square for more than 100 years, with a ball dropped annually since 1907. About 1 million people pack the streets each year to watch.
But as the world rang in 2021, the only spectators were a few hundred front-line workers who received invitations to the square. With infections high across the nation and restrictions still in place, it was otherwise closed to the public.
"We want to show the world we're back," de Blasio said . "We got a little more work to do to make sure everyone sees it, feels it, and I think 2022 is looking very bright right now."
Proof of vaccination is required for many popular activities and sights in New York, including indoor dining, bars, Broadway shows, concerts and museums.