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Home Breaking News Bomb-sniffing dogs? Check. Times Square crowd? Not this year

Bomb-sniffing dogs? Check. Times Square crowd? Not this year


NEW YORK (AP) — #New #York #City police turned to familiar tactics ahead of #Thursday’s #New #Year’s #Eve celebrations, deploying bomb-sniffing dogs and sand-filled sanitation trucks intended to guard against explosions.

#But the department’s playbook this year includes an unusual mandate: preventing crowds of any size from gathering in #Times #Square.

#Citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, police closed the #Crossroads of the #World to vehicles and pedestrians at midnight and said they would disperse any onlookers venturing into a so-called “frozen zone” — the blocks surrounding the ball that historically draw shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.

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The coronavirus has upended public life for months, and #New #Year’s #Eve will be no different. #This year, police said, revelers headed to #Times #Square won’t be permitted past police lines.

“If you think you’re going to be able to stand there and watch the ball, you’re mistaken,” #Chief of #Department #Terence #Monahan said, referring to the glittering, crystal ball that descends down a flagpole in #Times #Square each #New #Year’s #Eve to mark the stroke of midnight.

The NYPD announced a two-part freeze that will become more expansive at 3 p.m. #Even guests at five hotels in the area have been told to stay inside.

#Juanita #Holmes, chief of patrol for the NYPD, urged would-be partygoers to ring in 2021 “from the comfort of your home.”

“Coming to #Times #Square is a family tradition for some. #It is a bucket list item for others. #But this year is different,” she said. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for everyone to stay home.”

The #Police #Department will still roll out heavy weapons teams, explosive-sniffing dogs, drones and sand trucks. #But it has planned a drastically scaled-back presence in #Times #Square, including an 80% reduction in its typical workforce assigned to the area.

“We always have to prepare for the worst in terms of counterterrorism overlays,” #Police #Commissioner #Dermot #Shea said, “but the crowds will not be like they were in other years.”

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#This year’s celebration will unfold without the usual throngs of cheering, kissing revelers. #Indeed, the event’s special guests, first responders and essential workers, were expected to watch the festivities from a private, well-spaced area.

“It’s almost like a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” #Shea said, invoking the 1990s “show about nothing.”

“This is a ball drop about nothing, where you can’t see,” he said, “so you may as well stay home.”



[ source link ]
https://apnews.com/article/us-news-new-york-new-years-eve-coronavirus-pandemic-new-york-city-1a0c247148e36a1fd0c20e06b651c8fc

##Bombsniffing #dogs ##Check ##Times ##Square #crowd #year

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