Mayor says Times Square will continue to show its business despite the virus surge

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City will ring the new year in 2022 at Times Square, as planned, despite the record number of COVID-19-related infections in the area and elsewhere in the country.

Mayor says Times Square will continue to show its business despite the virus surge

NEW YORK -- New York City will ring the new year in 2022 at Times Square, as planned, despite record COVID-19 infection rates in the city, state, and nation, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

De Blasio said, "We want the world to see that we are moving forward" on NBC's Today show.

Officials in the city had previously banned revelers from Times Square a few years ago because of the pandemic. They also announced plans to hold a smaller New Year's party with fewer people and required vaccinations.

Atlanta and other cities have cancelled New Year's Eve celebrations. However, de Blasio stated that New York City's high COVID-19 vaccine rate makes it possible to host masked and socially distant crowds to witness the ball drop at Times Square.

"We have to send a message out to the world. He said that New York City was open.

New COVID-19 cases have increased to over 265,000 per hour, thanks to the highly contagious Omicron variant. According to New York state statistics, New York City had almost 44,000 confirmed cases on Wednesday.

New York reported Wednesday that more than 74,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19. This is the second consecutive day of state-wide records. Over 1,600 people were hospitalized in New York, bringing the total number of COVID-19-affiliated hospitals to 7,300. New York also reported 76 deaths.

De Blasio stated that the solution is to "double down" on vaccinations and pointed out that 91% New York City adults have had at least one COVID-19 dose.

Eric Adams, the city's next mayor will take office in Times Square on Saturday. Adams, a Democrat just like de Blasio said Thursday at a press conference that his team was working with de Blasio and that he intends to continue many of the plans of the outgoing mayor.

Adams stated that January 1 was a new start for my administration, but not for our resilience.

Adams intends to maintain a vaccine mandate for private-sector employees, which is the most comprehensive of any state or major cities. Adams stated that he would, like de Blasio would impose penalties on businesses who do not comply, but would use the fines only as an option.

Adams has vowed to keep schools open, despite the fact that hospitalizations and reported cases are on the rise.

Adams stated, "We cannot shut down our city again." "We cannot allow the city's economic decline to continue."

According to the new mayor, he and his team of advisors are looking into whether other mandates for vaccines should be expanded. New York City requires that teachers and staff at public and private schools be vaccinated. However, de Blasio made it mandatory for students.

Dr. Dave Chokshi is the city's Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene. He said that officials would decide whether to make such a requirement mandatory for students by spring.

Officials are currently examining whether it is possible to require people to have a booster shot to comply with the vaccine mandates for indoor eating, exercising at gyms, and other activities.

Adams stated that he will roll out a color-coded system to alert New Yorkers about the current threat level and safety measures in place. The system was not described by the incoming mayor.

Thursday's announcement by the new mayor and his medical advisers was that they will distribute face masks with higher protection against the coronavirus (N95s) at local health departments and to community groups. Students will be sent home with quick tests to use at home by the city.

Chokshi stated that "We should prepare and plan for a difficult few weeks, especially through January with regard to what we're witnessing for the winter surge caused by omicron." This isn't something we can just accept passively. This is something we have control over."

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