Ball drop goes virtual for New Year’s Eve

For millions of people, New Year’s Eve isn’t New Year’s Eve without watching the famous ball drop over Times Square in New York City.

The iconic New York celebration dates to 1907 and usually draws about 1 million people from around the world to Times Square. Participants count down the final seconds of the outgoing year as the sparkling crystal ball descends from a flagpole, marking the start of the new year.

But on December 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no live audience. Would-be partygoers have been advised to stay home, where they will be able to watch the celebration online or on television. A scaled-back celebration will focus on New York’s first responders and front-line and essential workers. They will be honored with their families during an event with social distancing and masking measures in place.

“As we join together to ring in the new year, the families celebrating in Times Square mirror families across the globe celebrating safely from their own homes,” said Jeffrey Straus, the president of Countdown Entertainment.