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Leaders and public health experts urge Americans to cancel New Year’s plans

Due to the rise of the omicron variant, Americans are looking at another request to stay-at-home for New Year’s Eve as political leaders and health advisers are urging people to cancel party plans.

Traditional New York Times Square celebrations have already been scaled back at the order of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Attendance at the Ball Drop, which normally hosts tens of thousands of people watching the event, has been capped at 15,000 guests. That number is down from a pre-pandemic 60,000, and organizers have encouraged attendees to watch it on TV or online.

The incoming New York City mayor, Eric Adams, has already cancelled his inauguration party, and outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio, will have his last New Year’s party extremely diminished.

Last month, prior to the rapid spread of the omicron variant, de Blasio had seemed excited for the end of his two terms. “Everyone come on down,” he said in the middle of November. “we can finally get back together again. It’s going to be amazing.”

But now, after the city reported the highest number of new infections since the onset of the pandemic, de Blasio said the New Year’s Eve event would have to be limited. All attendees are now required to be fully vaccinated and wear masks. 

Other locations have also had to scale back their plans for the evening. San Francisco mayor London Breed told city residents that “we must remain vigilant in doing all we can to stop the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant,” and the city’s fireworks show over the Bay has been canceled a second year in a row.

Atlanta has canceled its Peach Drop, similar to the Ball Drop in New York City. The mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announced the decision in a press release, saying, “In a consultation with public health officials, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the Peach Drop. As positive Covid-19 cases rise, I encourage everyone to be safe, get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines.”

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: TUCSON.COM

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