New York City authorities closed downtown Times Square today, Thursday, and only a small group of invitees, including health care workers and others from the front lines in dealing with the Coronavirus epidemic, could follow the countdown to the New Year’s Eve ball drop in the square.
City Mayor Bill de Blasio said everyone should stay home and watch the festivities in this square through TV channels, while dozens of celebrations across the United States have been similarly curtailed or switched entirely online.
Usually, tens of thousands fill the areas around Times Square and stand for hours in the freezing cold to watch the New Year’s Eve celebrations, as they watch that crystal ball slowly descend in the last seconds of last year.
However, this year, the police will not allow only a few dozen to be present, with a commitment to wearing a muzzle and examining everyone to ensure that no one has a high temperature.
Over 25,000 New Yorkers died this year because of contracting COVID-19, while the city was struggling last spring to cope with the deadliest waves of the epidemic in the world.