Megan Udinski, FISM News
After a year off from gathering in New York City to celebrate the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, vaccinated party-goers will get to attend the festivities in person as long as they provide proof of vaccination and identification.
In 2020 the ball dropped without spectators due to fear of the spread of COVID-19. Since the inception of the Times Square tradition in 1907, the ball has only ceased to drop twice, in 1942 and 1943, due to World War 2 and a light “dim out.” Crowds continued to gather those two years, observing a minute of silence and listening to chimes ringing from trucks positioned at the base of Times Tower.
President of the Times Square Alliance, Tom Harris remarked, “Now more than ever we need to come together to revive our favorite traditions with our loved ones – reflecting on a tough year behind us while looking forward to a new year with hope.”
However, for those hoping to gather in Times Square in-person they will need to provide proof of vaccination along with identification. Observers must be 14 days past their last dose of an FDA or CDC approved vaccine on December 31, 2021 to be considered fully vaccinated. Children five years or older must also provide proof of vaccination while those under five who are not eligible to receive a vaccine must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. There are currently no requirements for booster shots.
However, there is an exception for those who can prove they have a medical exemption from the vaccine. Those attendees will need to be masked the entire duration of the event and provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event.
In light of the vaccine requirements, there will be no limit on the crowd size.
NYC Mayor de Blasio anticipates this year’s celebration to be a spectacle. In a news conference he exclaimed, “We want to have a great New Year’s Eve celebration in this city. This city has been through so much, but this has been a heroic city fighting through COVID. We’re turning the corner. We got a lot to celebrate.”
The infamous ball is 12 feet in diameter with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles. The design for this year’s ball consists of 192 crystals each in patterns signifying the Gift of Happiness, Goodwill, Harmony, Serenity, Kindness, Wonder, and Fortitude. The remaining crystals which make up the majority of the design signify the Gift of Imagination. To learn more about the ball itself or the Ball Dropping event, you can check out the official New Year’s Eve website.