NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus pandemic is altering another iconic New York tradition.

The annual Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop will be virtual this year, organizers announced Wednesday.

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Organizers say it will be a “virtually enhanced celebration,” though added there would be some small, scaled-back live events using social distancing associated with it.

“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on Dec. 31,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences — still in development — will take place in Times Square.”


“People all over the globe are ready to join New Yorkers in welcoming in the new year with the iconic Ball Drop. I commend the Times Square Alliance, Jamestown Properties, and Countdown Entertainment on finding a safe, creative and innovative way for all of us to continue to celebrate this century old-tradition. A new year means a fresh start, and we’re excited to celebrate,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

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Barricades will be set up around Times Square to keep people out, like every other New Year’s Eve, but they won’t be letting anyone in.

“Are you guys looking at virtual ways to get fans here?” CBS2’s Steve Overmyer asked.

“‘There are things that are being done with, like, the NBA, with the Video Music Awards or the Emmys, where people are creatively saying, how can we engage our audience in new ways? And that’s part of what we’ll experiment with over the coming weeks and months,” Tompkins said.

There are still details to work out, including whether or not they will be dropping confetti.

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