New Yorkers and visitors will be able to receive the New Year in the popular tourism sector of Times square, as they did before the pandemic, but this time they must show that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 to celebrate the arrival of 2022, said the mayor, Bill de Blasio today.
All persons over the age of five will be required to present proof of vaccination prior to December 16, because it takes two weeks for the body to develop immunity after being inoculated.
Those who for medical reasons cannot receive the vaccine must present a negative test of the virus carried out 72 hours before the massive event, it was indicated in the joint press conference of De Blasio and Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance organization, which represents shops in the area.
Harris indicated that last Saturday Times Square received more than 270,000 people and that in the past months visits to that area have increased by 50%, which he attributed to vaccination efforts.
“A big and full force celebration is coming back to New York,” the Mayor enthused.
Unlike previous years, last year’s celebration only had a hundred guests: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees and teachers, among other essential workers who risked their lives during the coronavirus pandemic, an epidemic that turned New York into the focus of the health crisis.
According to De Blasio, this return to the New Year’s Eve celebration is “one more proof for the world that we are 100% back.”
The head of the city’s Health Department, Dr. Dave Chokshi, explained that the reason for being required to be fully vaccinated is to significantly reduce the risk of transmission, “which we know can occur outdoors, although the risk is lower.”
Thousands of people, including many who travel to New York for this occasion, usually go to Times Square each year, where they enjoy the presentation of artists and join, at 11:59 p.m., in the countdown until reaching zero and give way to the descent of the iconic crystal ball that welcomes the new year.
The ball is made up of 2,668 crystal triangles, illuminated by 32,256 red, blue, green and white led bulbs that form a palette of thousands of shades and weighs 5,386 kilograms.
This celebration dates back to 1904, when the then editor of The New York Times newspaper, Adolph Ochs, wanted to organize a fireworks display on the roof of the newspaper on New Year’s Eve to mark the move of the medium to its new offices, planned for a day after.
However, it was not until three years later that the mythical ball made its appearance, which then weighed 317 kilograms, had a diameter of one and a half meters and had a hundred white bulbs attached.
Since then, it has been molded over the years with different materials and lighting, including an apple-shaped design in the 80s, until it reached its current appearance in 2007, on the occasion of the celebration of its first centenary, when Waterford glass company and Philips lighting company designed the new sphere.