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Times Square New Year's Eve will be 'very different,' mostly virtual this year

Details are still coming together, but organizers said the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square only have an extremely limited group of in-person honorees.

New Year's Eve in Times Square will incorporate virtual elements, organizers said Wednesday as they gear up for a celebration that will have to be scaled down and socially distant in response to the coronavirus.

Details are still coming together, but the Times Square Alliance, Jamestown Properties and Countdown Entertainment said in a news release that the annual event will have an extremely limited group of in-person honorees.

A virtual experience will be created to allow people to take part in the countdown to 2021 from wherever they are, organizers said.

“More than ever in these divided and fear-filled times, the world desperately needs to come together symbolically and virtually to celebrate the people and things we love and to look forward with a sense of renewal and new beginnings," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance.

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The event will honor essential workers and others who have made a difference in 2020, they said.

Credit: Ben Hider/Invision/AP
Confetti falls at midnight on the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in New York. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP)

Organizers said attendance in Times Square will be "pre-determined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions," so they're working on ways for people to participate virtually wherever they are.  

"People all over the globe are ready to join New Yorkers in welcoming in the new year with the iconic Ball Drop. I commend the Times Square Alliance, Jamestown, and Countdown Entertainment on finding a safe, creative and innovative way for all of us to continue to celebrate this century-old tradition. A new year means a fresh start, and we’re excited to celebrate,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.