Times Square New Year’s Eve Event to Take Place With Vaccine, Mask Requirements

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Fans celebrate the new year in Times Square. Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano

Despite an omicron-fueled rise in COVID-19 cases – and the cancellation of some Broadway shows owing to this “substantial public health crisis” – the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is still expected to take place, albeit with a reduced crowd size and mask/vaccination requirements.

Times Square New Year’s Eve organizers just recently confirmed that their event will welcome an in-person crowd. Live performances from LL Cool J, Chlöe, Journey, Karol G, and KT Tunstall are booked for the happening, which is scheduled to kick off at 6 PM ET.

Regarding requirements for audience members, higher-ups made clear in a formal release that attendees must present “proof of full vaccination and valid photo identification.” And as mentioned, these individuals “will also be required to wear masks,” seemingly for the duration of the function, entry to which begins at 3 PM local time.

Times Square’s website, for its part, notes that “viewing areas will be filled with fewer people to allow for social distancing,” though it’s unclear precisely how many fans are set to attend the yearend occurrence.

In any event, that the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is moving forward amid a rise in COVID-19 cases appears to be a positive sign for the crowd-based entertainment space. A record high of nearly 50,000 New Yorkers tested positive for the bug on Christmas Eve.

But if outings like the Times Square New Year’s Eve party are commencing even with this surge in COVID-19 cases – medical experts and data say that omicron symptoms are comparatively mild – it stands to reason that the jam-packed 2022 concert schedule should largely avoid cancellations.

All manner of acts, including but certainly not limited to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, and Tim McGraw, are preparing to embark on tours in 2022. Of course, artists, live-event crews, and venues suffered unprecedented financial damage due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and large-gathering bans, and the full-scale return of crowd-based entertainment will come as a major relief to the involved professionals.

Furthermore, these struggles haven’t yet concluded, for the UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) earlier this month warned that grassroots music venues were on “the brink of collapse” in the wake of Plan B’s announcement. Plus, the nonprofit venue advocate described as “a woefully inadequate response” the financial relief that was subsequently unveiled.

At the time of this piece’s publishing, Live Nation stock (NYSE: LYV) was trading for $118.90 per share – an almost 18 percent boost across the last five days, notwithstanding increasing COVID cases as well as the Ticketmaster parent company’s legal battle with Coachella.