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New York welcomes back fully vaccinated revelers for New Year's Eve

New York City's Times Square will once again fill with revelers ringing in the new year on Dec. 31, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday, but only if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last year, the still-raging coronavirus pandemic allowed only a handful of invited guests, including essential workers, to witness in person the dropping of the iconic New Year’s Eve ball, signaling the start of the new year.

"We can finally get back together again," de Blasio told reporters, touting New York City's recovery after more than a year of pandemic hardship. "It's going to be amazing, it's going to be a joy for this city."

Visitors to the area will be asked to provide proof of vaccination and a valid photo ID, de Blasio said. Security checkpoints will be in place to check the documentation of those seeking to enter Times Square for the festivities.

"We will require spectators five and older who are eligible to be fully vaccinated," said Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance. "If you are unable to get vaccinated because of a disability, we will require proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours."

Masks will be required for those unable to get vaccinated, he added.

Earlier this month, U.S. health authorities authorized the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech for children aged 5 to 11.