After an eerily empty New Year's celebration last year, Times Square is ready to welcome back crowds of people to ring in 2022. However, there's a mid-pandemic caveat: All revelers must be vaccinated—or, for those who are unable to be vaccinated, test negative for COVID and wear a mask.
Times Square has hosted possibly the biggest New Year's celebration—with hundreds of thousands of people brave enough to wait hours to count down the year in the middle of the street immersed in the allure of New York City while possibly wearing diapers—every year since 1907, with the exception of 2020. Last year, the Crossroads of the World was off-limits, and people were asked to stay at home and watch the festivities online or on TV, and gaze as the New Year's Ball and confetti drifted down to a mostly empty Broadway.
Now, the Times Square Alliance will welcome people ages five or older with proof of vaccination and a photo ID on December 31st. In order to be fully vaccinated by December 31st, people must have their second dose (or single Johnson & Johnson dose) by December 17th. People unable to be vaccinated due to a medical disability may attend if they can show a negative COVID PCR test within 72 hours of New Year's Eve (and they must show proof of their medical disability), and they must wear a mask.
Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance, joined Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the announcement at a press conference this morning. Harris explained that there will be checkpoints where officials will be inspecting proof of vaccination or proof of negative COVID test. Further details will be released closer to the celebration.
While you count down the days for the end of the year, prepare yourself for the festivities to come by revisiting the 2011 romcom/horror film New Year's Eve—all you need to know (spoiler alert!) is that Hilary Swank is in charge of the ball drop, but she leaves before midnight to take her sickly father, played by Robert de Niro, to the roof of his hospital, where he promptly dies.
This article has been updated to clarify that only unvaccinated attendees must be masked.