Published on : Tuesday, December 28, 2021
For a while there, it appeared we might be able to ring in New Year’s Eve in major cities across the planet with something resembling the huge celebrations of yore. Another Covid-19 surge and the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus have dashed those hopes — at least in some part of the world.
In New York City, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will be “scaled back,” with fewer revellers and everyone required to wear a mask, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said Thursday.
But some major cities in Europe, where the spread of Omicron has been startling, have already announced they’re flat-out cancelling plans.
Other cities around the world with traditionally iconic celebrations still plan to host their events but with safety precautions in place.
The following cities (or nations) have already announced they’re cancelling their big events:
This year, there will be no fireworks show over the Acropolis this year. Health Minister Thanos Plevris said during a news briefing on Thursday, December 23, that all public Christmas and New Year celebrations planned by municipalities are cancelled.
All travellers arriving in Greece will be strongly advised to take Covid-19 tests on the second and fourth days after their arrival, on top of the existing requirement to provide a negative test result to enter Greece.
Starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, December 24, masks will become mandatory again in both indoor and outdoor spaces. For supermarkets and public transport, a double mask or a high protection mask will be required. The measures will last until January 3, when according to Plevris, more restrictions might be put forward concerning sport and entertainment venues.
Germany is imposing strict contact restrictions to curb the spread of Covid starting on December 28 and prohibit New Year’s Eve gatherings, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Tuesday, December 21. That means no big fireworks gathering in Berlin, the capital, nor in other big gathering spots such as Munich and Frankfurt.
From December 28, a maximum of 10 people will be allowed to meet in groups, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or recovered, Scholz said. Children 13 and younger are exempt from the new contact restrictions.
Public New Year’s Eve celebrations in Scotland will be cancelled, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday, December 21. In a statement, Sturgeon explained details for post-Christmas restrictions on large events to blunt the spread of Omicron.
Sturgeon said the move will “also mean unfortunately that large-scale Hogmanay celebrations — including that planned here in our capital city — will not proceed. I know how disappointing this will be for those looking forward to these events.”
A planned New Year’s Eve event in London has been cancelled over COVID-19 concerns, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted on Monday, December 20. A statement attached to the tweet said the celebration had been expected to host 6,500 people in Trafalgar Square.
The government of India’s union territory of Delhi, which encompasses the national capital of New Delhi, has announced a ban on all social, cultural, political and festival gatherings until further notice because of a rise in Covid-19 cases. Bars and restaurants will be allowed to operate at only 50% capacity.
Paris has cancelled its traditional fireworks display over the Champs-Elysées Avenue to welcome the New Year because of the renewed coronavirus surge. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday, December 17, that major public parties and fireworks would be banned on New Year’s Eve and recommended that even vaccinated people take a self-test before getting together for year-end parties.
In Italy, Rome is among several cities that have decided to cancel festivities over COVID-19 health concerns. The large New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country have been cancelled, including open air concerts and fireworks in Venice. Nightclubs will be closed for the month of January as well. The Campania region has also banned feasts and alcohol consumption in public areas from December 23 to January 1.