New Year's Eve celebrations and restrictions around the world
Despite things going well at the beginning of the autumn season and giving us hope that we might be able to ring in the New Year with a bang, Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, arrived just in time to put a damper on our holiday plans.
In many parts of the world, Omicron is running rampant, and thus many major cities have had to change their New Year's Eve celebration plans. So, which cities are and which aren't planning on celebrating the New Year? We've compiled a list of which cities across the globe are going and ahead with their celebrations and which are canceling due to COVID.
The Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris gave a new briefing on December 23rd, informing the public that all public New Year celebrations planned by towns and cities had been canceled. Sadly, there will not be any fireworks in Athens or wild parties on the Greek Islands this year.
Sadly, if you had hoped to spend the last days of 2021 partying it up in Amsterdam, Omicron has put a stop to your plans. The Netherlands is in lockdown until the 14th of January 2022. Only essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies are open in the meantime.
However, if you can afford a last-minute plane ticket to Thailand's capital city, you WILL be able to enjoy the city's New Year's Eve celebrations. According to the Bangkok Post, the city will permit outdoor celebrations, so long as party-goers are pre-registered to attend, have a negative COVID test in the past 72 hours, and are fully vaccinated.
The Catalan city of Barcelona has canceled all public New Year's Eve celebrations. The city had planned an even at the Montjuïc Fountains, which it has canceled due to the sixth wave of COVID-19 that Spain is experiencing. In addition, a curfew has been introduced in Catalonia, and nightclubs are forced to remain closed.
On December 21st, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared that New Year's Eve gatherings are prohibited this year. There will not be any fireworks in Berlin, Munich, or Frankfurt so as to avoid large crowds. In addition, private gatherings are limited to ten people.
Despite South Africa being the origin of the Omicron variant, which has put a damper on many countries' holiday celebrations, New Year's Eve events are still permitted in Cape Town. According to the city's tourism website, there are quite a variety of NYE celebrations to choose from; however, many start quite early (18h, for example) due to a strict curfew.
If you really want to see a spectacular fireworks show, head to Dubai to see the display at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. However, if that isn't quite your cup of tea, the Dubai tourism website thoroughly explains all the possibilities offered for ringing 2022 in Dubai.
All public NYE celebrations are canceled in Scotland this year. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, made a statement on December 21st, explaining that all public festivities in the country had to be canceled due to the spread of Omicron.
Sin City will still celebrate New Year's despite Omicron's ever-increasing presence in the United States. Fireworks will be launched from the roof of eight hotel-casinos on the Strip, and there will also be a fireworks show in downtown Las Vegas.
Celebrations planned in Trafalgar Square in London are canceled due to Covid concerns. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, tweeted the news on December 20th that a special program on BBC One will replace the event, which 6,500 people were expected to attend.
Despite the incredibly high numbers of COVID-19 in Spain, New Year's Eve celebrations are still on in the capital of Madrid. According to the Spanish newspaper El País Madrid City Hall has limited New Year's Eve celebrations in Puerta del Sol to 7,000 people. The police will monitor the public and ensure that face masks are used and proper safety distance is maintained among the masses.
According to CNN, the union territory of Delhi's government has banned all types of gatherings until further notice due to a rise in COVID cases. Therefore there will not be any New Year's Eve parties in New Delhi on the 31st of December. However, those wishing to celebrate may go out to bars or restaurants, which are limited to 50% capacity.
NYE celebrations in NYC are still in place; however, Mayor Bill de Blasio's office has stated that celebrations in Times Square will be "scaled back."
Party-goers must wear a mask, and only 15,000 people will be allowed in the area, whereas usually 58,000 are permitted. Those over the age of 5 years must show proof of vaccination to attend the outdoor event.
In the capital city of Canada, all large gatherings are forbidden as they are in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario, both on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Due to fears over COVID-19, the city of Ottawa encourages families to enjoy outdoor activities such as ice-skating while wearing a mask.
Like many other European capitals, Paris has canceled the fireworks show over Champs-Elysées Avenue on New Year's Eve due to Omicron. The mayor's office informed AFP that there would not be any fireworks or music this year to celebrate.
Mayor Eduardo Paes has gone back and forth on deciding if the city would be celebrating NYE or not. In the end, the party capital of Brazil has agreed to permit New Year's celebrations. According to CNN, the mayor of Rio said, "We met with the Scientific Committee, which confirmed that it would be safe to hold the city's New Year's celebrations under the provisions presented by the city government."
The city of Rome in Italy has joined many other cities in canceling NYE festivities due to the coronavirus. It isn't a surprise considering the country was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic in 2020. All large celebrations have been canceled in the country, even those held outside. In addition, the public consumption of food and alcohol is forbidden until January 1st, and nightclubs will remain closed for all of January.
Sydney is the place to party on December 31st this year...so long as you've booked tickets ahead of time. The largest city in Australia offers tickets to several different vantage points around the city to see fireworks at 9 and 12 pm. Those wishing to attend must obtain tickets previously, and no proof of vaccination is needed, but participants are highly encouraged to get vaxxed.
Taipei is a large city located on the island of Taiwan, and it appears plans for New Year's Eve celebration have been green-lighted by authorities. According to the Taipei Times, the city will hold a countdown show and fireworks at the Taipei 101 skyscraper as it does annually.
According to Time Out, one of Tokyo's most popular New Year's Eve parties has been canceled. Shibuya's famous Scramble Crossing is a favorite place for Tokyoites to ring in the new year, and for the second year in a row, festivities have been canceled due to concerns over COVID-19.