How Is COVID-19 Affecting the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop?

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In New York City and throughout the country, the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop has long been an iconic event that draws huge crowds, with many Americans watching the widely broadcasted celebration. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and its limits on crowds mean that in 2020, the New Year’s Eve ball drop is going to look different. Here’s what’s going to change for this year’s event.

Wait, but doesn’t COVID-19 only spread indoors?

Although COVID-19 spreads far more easily indoors, it can still be spread in crowded outdoor areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can contract and spread COVID-19 in any areas where people do not maintain at least six feet of social distance. Wearing a mask offers some protection, but avoiding indoor and outdoor crowds provides far more.

How the NYE ball drop will look different in 2020

The NYE ball drop will still occur, but with this year’s unprecedented pandemic, the popular event will be different. That’s because, on average, approximately one million people attend the ball drop in person – a crowd size that’s orders of magnitude too large for pandemic times. Instead, this year, the countdown and NYE ball drop will be entirely virtual. On September 23, the event organizers announced that this year’s event will have a limited number of in-person attendees who will remain socially distant. 

Jonathan Bennett, an actor best known for his roles in Mean Girls and Cheaper by the Dozen 2, will host the event. This year’s musical performers will include Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Gaynor, Gwen Stefani, Busta Rhymes, Anderson .Paak, Goo Goo Dolls, Sting, Chloe x Halle, Doja Cat, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, and more. Additionally, during the event, there will be a focus on news, first responders, essential workers, and some of 2020’s trending pop culture.

How the NYE ball drop will look the same in 2020

Live coverage of the Times Square NYE ball drop will air on all of the major news networks, online, and via many streaming services. As usual, there will be hourly countdowns before the ball drops. Additionally, commercial-free broadcasts will be available on social media and on Times Square’s official website. The celebration will also stream on streaming media plug-in devices and premium subscription services.

How you can celebrate NYE from home

There have long been many ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve from home, and if you’ve always tuned in from afar to see the ball drop, this year might not feel that different. If it does feel different, lean into the fun-at-home vibes by preparing delicious drinks and tasty food to indulge in while you watch the ball drop. You can also connect with your loved ones with a virtual call during which you can watch the ball drop together, have a toast, or play some games. If you want an especially relaxed New Year’s Eve, binge-watch some holiday movies, and to end things with a pop, celebrate the new year at midnight with some fun confetti poppers.

Will you be tuning into this year’s virtual Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop? Sound off in the comments!

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