New Years Eve will return to Times Square for vaccinated guests
He cited the Lollapalooza music festival this summer in Chicago as proof.
âIt was an incredibly crowded gathering, and everyone in that setting had to be vaccinated or tested negative,â Dr Jha said. “We have evidence that there was little to no spread.”
But Dr Jha has warned Mr de Blasio to give himself an escape clause if the number of cases increases sharply in the days leading up to New Years Eve, requiring the celebration to return to be postponed until next year.
Some experts have pointed out that the risk may not be contained in Times Square. People will also have to consider what happens before and after the balloon drops, with people entering and leaving nearby bars and restaurants to eat, warm up and use the restroom. But New York City, unlike many places, requires those who eat and drink indoors to provide proof of vaccination.
Some major restrictions against international travelers were recently relaxed by the United States, so the balloon drop is likely to attract revelers from all over the world, bringing together people from areas with lower and higher virus rates.
Denis Nash, professor of epidemiology at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, said that although the vaccination requirement meant that the risk of transmission during the event would be significantly reduced, those who traveling from out of town to witness the balloon drop should consider the possibility of bringing the virus back to their hometown.
“There will be people coming from places where there is not a lot of Covid at the moment,” Mr Nash said. âWe have to think about the seeding, the epidemics and the spread, not just in our own backyards, but everywhere. “
Given the safety guidelines, witnessing the ball drop would not be an irrational choice, Mr Nash said. But people will need to weigh their individual comfort level and the level of risk they may pose to others, he said, advising partygoers to wear a mask all the time.