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COVID kills tradition of revelers packing Times Square for New Year’s Eve celebrations

Throngs of crowds will be noticeably absent in New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Times Square ball will drop without a live audience for the first time since 1907.

What are the details?

In a Tuesday release, the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment announced that its annual event will not permit people to gather in Times Square on Dec. 31.

The event will be broadcast without attendees. Organizers said that the safety of New Yorkers and the event’s participants “is the priority of Times Square New Year’s Eve 2021.”

This year’s special guests will be the “Heroes of 2020,” according to the statement, and will include essential workers and their families and first responders.

According to the Hill, “New York families of first responders, frontline, and essential workers, will represent the heroes at the event while located in individual household sealed zones for social distancing.”

All people participating in the event “will remain masked at all times” and “will adhere to distancing regulations throughout the production site.”

In a statement, Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said, “The Special Guest plays a pivotal role in the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, most notably by representing resounding resolve and a determined spirit, at a time when the world collectively awaits a renewed beginning. This year, it feels most appropriate to shine a spotlight on the individuals who are tirelessly leading our nation through hard times with unshakable strength, determination and poise, as well as their families, who deal with their own set of sacrifices.”

What else?

On Wednesday, the New York Post reported that storied entertainer Gloria Gaynor will perform the 1978 hit “I Will Survive” for the festivities.

The 77-year-old Grammy-winning artist will also perform “Never Can Say Goodbye” and gospel song “Joy Comes in the Morning.”

The outlet reports that the event will be streamed on multiple websites including TimesSquareNYC.org, NewYearsEve.NYC, Livestream.com/2021, and TimesSquareBall.net in addition to traditional TV network stations.

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