NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — What are your plans this New Year’s Eve?
How about the ball drop?READ MORE: New York City Announces First-In-The-Nation Vaccine Mandate For Private Companies
Crowds are welcome back to Times Square this year.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, the city made it official Tuesday. As long as you’re vaccinated, you can come party with several hundred thousand of your closes friends at midnight.
The NYPD also says it’s prepared for the large crowd.
“A lot of police officers and detectives out there, you’ll have counterterrorism overlays,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Right now, there are no credible threats.
The ball dropped at midnight Jan. 1, 2021, to a smaller crowd made up of invited first responders and essential workers. Everyone else had to watch it on their television, computer or phone. But this year, hundreds of thousands of people can attend.
WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Announces Return Of New Year’s Eve In Times Square
“A big, strong, full strength celebration. It’s coming back. New Year’s Eve, Times Square, everyone come on down,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
If you’re five years or older, you must show proof of full vaccination and photo ID. Unvaccinated children under the age of 5 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. People unable to get vaccinated due to a disability will be required to present proof of a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours prior to the event, and anyone unable to get vaccinated must wear a mask, if able to do so.
“Each year there’s a security checkpoint for each reveler as they enter Times Square to take their spot for the event. This year, we will add a moment for each reveler to show proof of vaccination along with an ID,” said Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance.
- New York State book online here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX
- New York City book online here or call 877-VAX-4NYC
- Track NYC vaccinations by zip code
- Nassau County more info here
- Suffolk County more info here
- Westchester County more info here
- New Jersey book online here or call 1-855-568-0545
- Connecticut book online here
As for why full vaccination is required outdoors?
“When we think of outdoors, we don’t usually think of being face to face with somebody, but that is very much the reality of that beautiful Times Square celebration, and that’s why vaccination matters,” said Dr. Mitch Katz, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals.READ MORE: New York City's New Vaccine Mandate Also Impacts Kids 5-11
“The rational for being fully vaccinated in that setting is to markedly reduce the risk of transmission, which we know can occur outdoors even though the risk is lower,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi added.
Gainer asked people in Times Square how they felt about the full celebration coming back, from the costumed characters to the Naked Cowboy.
“I’m really excited,” one person said.
Some Broadway actresses say they usually work New Year’s Day.
“We work that, and we have to get through the crowds to get to the train to go home,” said Sheila Gibbs of “The Lion King.”
“You’ll have to wear a mask and a diaper because you’re fenced in for hours until the ball drops,” one person said.
Vendors have appreciated the growing crowds.
“Nobody here last year,” said hot dog vendor Ossama Al Sayed. “That’s very good. I see more people these months.”
Tourists are back.
“I would like to see it this year,” one person said.
“It’s a good thing. It’s exciting, because it hasn’t happened in awhile. Aside from the cold it’s a nice way to ring in the new year,” said Aryana Garcia.
New Yorkers always have mixed opinions on attending the ball drop.
“We’re not totally out of the pandemic.” one person said. “The commute getting home is just crazy with the train.”MORE NEWS: Westchester County Issues State Of Emergency As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Double
“Of course I’ll come out here. I’m from New York and it hasn’t been open for awhile, so of course I’ll be out here,” said Bronx resident Kevin Bernard.
MAJOR COMEBACK: Today, officials are expected to formally announce the in-person return of the traditional New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in @TimesSquareNYC ! 🎉🌃
— John Dias (@JohnBDias) November 16, 2021
Many New Yorkers and tourists CBS2’s John Dias spoke with said this is yet another sign the city is bouncing back strong.
“It’s just an amazing night,” Jolie Mizen told Dias on her visit from London.
Mizen last rang in the New Year in Times Square back in 2015. The London resident said she is now thinking about returning to the Big Apple to celebrate again.
“I’ve done San Francisco, I’ve done Australia, I’ve done London, and this has to be the best one,” she said.
But with the pandemic still not over, some anxiously questioned if this is the right way to ring in the New Year.
“It can be difficult at times to make sure that everybody has got vaccination,” said Matt Jones.
“If they’re going to do a typical New Year’s where people are packed in there, I don’t see how that’s not going to be a super spreader,” Patricia Rodriguez added.
As for things getting back to normal tourism-wise, the Times Square Alliance says last Saturday over 270,000 people were here. For the same day in 2019 it was around 350,000.
No tickets will be needed for the celebration.
CBS2’s John Dias contributed to this report.