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After a year like this, expect a strange New Year’s Eve


NEW YORK (AP) — #If ever a year’s end seemed like cause for celebration, 2020 might be it.

#Yet the coronavirus scourge that dominated the year is also looming over #New #Year’s festivities and forcing officials worldwide to tone them down.

#From #New #York’s #Times #Square to #Sydney #Harbor, big public blowouts are being turned into TV-only shows and digital events. #Fireworks displays have been canceled from the #Las #Vegas #Strip to the #Arc de #Triomphe in #Paris. #Even private parties in some places are restricted.

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The occasion stirs mixed feelings for people like #Cesar #Soltero, who was taking photos, and taking stock, in #Times #Square this week.

“I’m going to celebrate that I’m alive, but I’m not precisely too happy for this year,” said #Soltero, 36, an engineer visiting from #Orlando, #Florida, after forgoing his usual holiday trip to see family in #Mexico.

#Simona #Faidiga and #Alessandro #Nunziata strolled through #Times #Square with their #Labrador retriever puppy, #Maggie, who has given #Faidiga a lift after she lost her tour guide job.

The #Italian couple moved to #Miami for new jobs in #March, just as the pandemic froze tourism. #He is working as a sales representative, but she is not back at work yet. #And they’re not ready to declare 2021 will be better, not wanting to jinx it.

“I mean, I don’t think it could be worse than 2020,” said #Nunziata, 27.

#Days ahead of the ball drop in #Times #Square, it clearly wasn’t #New #Year’s as usual at the #Crossroads of the #World. There was room to roam on sidewalks that would normally be all but impassable.

#Vendors’ carts and window displays at the area’s struggling gift shops flaunted few 2021-themed souvenirs as workers set up a stage for a celebration that will unfold this year without the usual throngs of cheering, kissing revelers. #Police will block off the area so spectators can’t get a glimpse.

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“It’s almost like a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” #Police #Commissioner #Dermot #Shea said, invoking the 1990s “show about nothing.” “This is a ball drop about nothing, where you can’t see, so you may as well stay home.”

The event’s special guests will be first responders and essential workers. #But they won’t be joining the mayor on stage to lead the countdown. #Instead, each guest will watch from a private, well-spaced area.

The night’s performances — including disco diva #Gloria #Gaynor’s singing of the apt-for-2020 anthem “I #Will #Survive” — will be aimed at TV audiences.

#New #Year’s #Eve will look different around the world after a year in which the virus killed an estimated 1.8 million people, including more than 330,000 in the U.S.

#Germany banned the sale of fireworks, which residents usually set off in on the streets, and a pyrotechnics show at #Berlin’s #Brandenburg #Gate is off.

#So, too, are the fireworks over the #River #Thames in locked-down #London, where #New #Year’s #Eve also marks #Britain’s final economic split from the #European #Union. #However, #Big #Ben, which has been largely silent since 2017 while its clock tower is restored, will sound 12 bongs at midnight.

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The #Netherlands moved the national countdown from an #Amsterdam park to a soccer stadium, where spectators won’t be allowed in and pyrotechnics will be replaced with “electric fireworks.”

#In #Rome, the fireworks are still on, but customary concerts in public plazas have been scrapped in favor of livestreamed performances and art installations. #Pope #Francis will skip his typical #Dec. 31 visit to the #Vatican’s life-sized #Nativity scene in #St. #Peter’s #Square and plans to deliver his #New #Year’s #Day blessing indoors, to prevent crowds from gathering.

#Rio de #Janeiro nixed the fireworks, open-air concerts and rooftop parties that draw crowds of white-clad revelers in the #Copacabana neighborhood, where only residents will be allowed in.

#New #Year’s #Eve is one of the busiest days of the year at #Paulo #Roberto #Senna’s #Copacabana beach stand, but the 57-year-old said he was OK with the shutdown: “No money can buy our health!”

#Hot dog vendor #Fabio #Henrique saw it differently.

“They tell us to stay home, but for those who don’t have money, where are we going to get the means to live?” asked #Henrique, 39.

#In #Russia, #New #Year’s #Eve has been more widely celebrated than #Christmas, which is marked on #Jan. 7 by the country’s #Orthodox #Christian majority. #Public events have been banned or restricted in many regions. #But the country’s so-called #New #Year’s #Eve capital, the city of #Kaluga, is luring tourists with a week of festivities, despite pleas from residents to cancel. #Officials in #Kaluga, 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of #Moscow, said virus precautions will be taken.

#Poland has told residents not to circulate between 7 p.m. on #Dec. 31 until 6 a.m. on #Jan. 1. #Turkey declared a four-day lockdown starting on #New #Year’s #Eve, and #President #Recep #Tayyip #Erdogan warned that security forces will inspect hotels for illicit parties.

#In the U.S., the #Christmas morning bombing of the downtown tourist district in #Nashville, #Tennessee, led the city to cancel its plan to light fireworks and blow up a 2020 sign.

“To say it would have been tone deaf would be an understatement,” said #Bruce #Spyridon, president of the #Nashville #Convention & #Visitors #Corp.

#South #Africa #President #Cyril #Ramaphosa suggested a new way of observing the holiday by lighting candles to honor COVID-19 victims and front-line workers and to hope for a healthy 2021.

#Back in #New #York, yoga and stress-management instructor #Allison #Richard, 39, wrote up a few #New #Year’s wishes on confetti that will be dropped at midnight in #Times #Square.

“Freedom,” she wrote, and “contentment,” “commitment,” “connection,” “prosperity” and “love.”

___

#Associated #Press writers around the world contributed to this report.



[ source link ]
https://apnews.com/article/new-york-new-years-eve-occasions-coronavirus-pandemic-fireworks-displays-f7f0f9971836f1da138bc241fdd34ef5

#year #expect #strange ##Years ##Eve

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