New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that the traditional New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square will have a reduced crowd size and a mask rule in place due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and spread of the Omicron variant, ABC7 reported on Thursday.
De Blasio also announced several new safety measures, including a requirement for attendees to wear masks. Viewing areas will also be filled with fewer people to allow for social distancing.
There was already a vaccine and ID requirement in place.
"New Yorkers have stepped up tremendously over the past year," de Blasio said. "We are leading the way on vaccinations, we have reopened safely, and every day we work toward building a recovery for all of us. 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."
Made in consultation with health and medical experts, the additional safety measures are designed to keep revelers safe and healthy as they ring in the New Year.
The city, in partnership with Times Square Alliance, will continue to monitor the situation and take additional precautions and measures in the coming days if needed, according to ABC7.
"New York is the best place in the world to celebrate New Year's Eve and now it will be one of the safest against COVID as well," Mayor-elect Eric Adams said. "The Mayor has made the right move to take precautionary measures as we learn to live with COVID and fight the Omicron variant-and New Yorkers and visitors alike can now enjoy Times Square and the rest of our city as we ring in 2022."
The celebration normally hosts approximately 58,000 people in viewing areas, but this year's celebration will be reduced to roughly 15,000 people. In addition, visitors will not be allowed entry until 3:00 p.m., which is much later than past years.
All attendees who are age 5 or over must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the event. Unvaccinated minors under the age of 5 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.
Earlier this week, de Blasio announced that New York City would be offering $100 in cash to everyone who gets a COVID-19 booster shot by the end of the secular year.
The cash incentive applies to all those who get the shot at a city-run vaccine site.