NEW YORK (AP) – New York City police on Thursday turned to familiar tactics ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, deploying bomb-smelling dogs and sand-sanitized trucks intended to protect against explosions.
But the department’s playbook this year includes an unusual mandate: preventing crowds of any size from gathering in Times Square.
Citing concerns over the proliferation of COVID-19, police closed the world’s intersection for vehicles and pedestrians at midnight and said they would scatter onlookers arriving in any so-called “frozen area” Will do – blocks around the ball that historically pulled the shoulder – so the crowd on the shoulder.
Coronoviruses have maintained public life for months, and New Year’s Eve will be no different. This year, police said, the Revelers leading Times Square will not be allowed past police lines.
“If you think you can stand there and look at the ball, you’re wrong,” said department head Terence Monahan to mark the stroke of midnight.
Still, Mayor Bill de Blasio swore, “It would have been a happy night if it ever were. Goodbye, 2020. Here comes something better: 2021.”
The Democratic mayor said the “I can’t wait to start” page was changed in a year when New York became the epicenter of the epidemic in the spring. The city has more than 25,000 deaths from the virus.
The NYPD announced a two-part freeze that would extend further at 3pm. Even guests from five hotels in the area have been asked to stay inside.
In 2021, NYPD patrol chief Junita Holmes “urged partygoers to ring from the comfort of their homes.”
“Coming to Times Square is a family tradition for some. It is a bucket list item for others. But this year is different. “I can’t emphasize enough how important staying at home is to everyone.”
The police department will still roll out heavy weapons teams, explosive-sniffing dogs, drones and sand trucks. But it has planned a massive scale-back presence in Times Square, including an 80% reduction in its specific workforce assigned to the area.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said, “We always have to prepare for the worst in terms of counter-terrorism forces,” but the crowd will not be like other years. ”
This year’s celebration will appear without the usual crowd of cheer, capricious kisses. In fact, the event’s distinguished guests, first responders and essential activists, were looking forward to seeing the celebration from a private, well-off location.
“It’s almost like a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” Shia said, showing the 1990s as “about nothing.”
“It’s nothing, where you can’t see,” he said, “so you can stay at home.”