New Yorkers can still have a ball on New Year's Eve, the city's mayor said Thursday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he plans to host New Year's Eve as intended, including the famous Times Square ball drop and the inauguration of his successor, Mayor-elect Eric Adams, despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
"We want to show that we're moving forward, and we want to show the world that New York City is fighting our way through this," de Blasio said on NBC's Today.
The announcement marks a reversal from previous plans to host a scaled-back New Year's bash with smaller crowds, required proof of vaccination, and a mask mandate.
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While some cities have canceled their New Year's Eve events, de Blasio is convinced that the city's high vaccination rate justifies allowing the festivities to continue.
"We've got to send a message to the world: New York City is open," he continued.
Adams, who is set to be sworn into office after the ball drops at midnight on Jan. 1, said in a news conference on Thursday that his team is working with de Blasio and intends to keep many of de Blasio's policies in tact, including a vaccine mandate for private-sector employees, according to the Associated Press. Adams also said he would work with his team to study whether there was value in expanding other vaccine mandates.
"We can't shut down our city again," Adams said. "We can't allow the city to go further into economic despair."
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COVID-19 cases have steadily risen over the last few days. New York City has a daily average of 25,184 cases based on a seven-day average, and 72.3% of city residents are fully vaccinated against the virus as of Thursday.