Skip to main content
By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.
Letters to the Editor • Opinion
We already know how to prevent pandemics
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

New Year’s Eve in Times Square is back this year — for fully vaccinated people

The iconic ball drop was scaled back last year amid the pandemic

Revelers celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square in New York City on December 31, 2019. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)
2 min

Crowds will return to Times Square to ring in 2022, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Tuesday, with proof of vaccination required for entry.

The iconic ball drop, which traditionally draws millions of revelers, is back after festivities were scaled back last year amid the pandemic. De Blasio, blowing on a noisemaker during a news conference, said the city expected a “full-strength” celebration.

“Everyone come on down,” he said. “We are proud to announce the ball drop, everything, coming back full strength, hundreds of people there to celebrate. We can finally get back together again. It’s going to be amazing.”

Those unable to get vaccinated due to a disability will be allowed to attend if they provide a negative coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours. Children under 5, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, must be accompanied by an adult who has been vaccinated.

Revelers have celebrated New Year’s Eve at Times Square for more than 100 years, with a ball dropped annually since 1907. About 1 million people pack the streets each year to watch.

But as the world rang in 2021, the only spectators were a few hundred front-line workers who received invitations to the square. With infections high across the nation and restrictions still in place, it was otherwise closed to the public.

“We want to show the world we’re back,” de Blasio said Tuesday. “We got a little more work to do to make sure everyone really sees it, feels it, and I think 2022 is looking very bright right now.”

Proof of vaccination is required for many popular activities and sights in New York, including indoor dining, bars, Broadway shows, concerts and museums.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Where do things stand? See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people.

The state of public health: Conservative and libertarian forces have defanged much of the nation’s public health system through legislation and litigation as the world staggers into the fourth year of covid.

Grief and the pandemic: A Washington Post reporter covered the coronavirus — and then endured the death of her mother from covid-19. She offers a window into grief and resilience.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

For the latest news, sign up for our free newsletter.