Crowds will once again fill New York’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve, with proof of COVID-19 vaccination required for revelers who want to watch the ball drop in person, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“Yes, we are proud to announce that Times Square, wonderful celebration in Times Square, the ball drop, everything, coming back full strength the way we love it,” de Blasio said at a virtual news briefing. “Hundreds of thousands of people there to celebrate. We can finally get back together again. It’s going to be amazing.”
Tom Harris, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said all spectators aged 5 and over will be asked to show proof of full vaccination. People who can’t be vaccinated because of a disability will have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, he said.
The New Year’s Eve celebration, perhaps the city’s most iconic public gathering, was a socially distant affair during the height of the pandemic last year.
There were no packed crowds of giddy revelers, jammed together cheek-by-jowl. Instead there were mostly empty streets as officials told people to stay home and watch the ball drop on television. Entertainers including Jennifer Lopez performed behind police barricades to small groups made up of essential workers.
With the advent of vaccines, the city’s public celebrations have been on the upswing in 2021. The Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks once again welcomed crowds to gather and watch as fireworks lit up the sky, and some parades have returned to city streets.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will also be returning to pre-COVID form, with giant balloons guided by volunteer handlers making their way through the event’s Manhattan parade route, instead of the one-block stretch they were kept to last year.
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, Has Been Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer
This follows his transfer to a medical facility in December
The new comes from a letter he wrote:
French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’
French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported.
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Boston unveils the ‘Be Together’ initiative, requiring full vaccination for entry to restaurants, gyms, and sports arenas for anyone 12 and older. In March the mandate will phase-in for younger children.