Buffalo New Year’s Eve Ball Drop invites back in-person crowd

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — People will be able to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in person in Roosevelt Plaza once again this year.

The ball drop still happened last year, but the in-person crowd was cancelled due to COVID-19.

This will be the 34th year of the ball drop.

People are being asked to wear a mask if they’re not vaccinated, but other than that, there will be no COVID restrictions. Mayor Byron Brown made the announcement Thursday.

“This year we’re excited the public will be able to come out again and watch the ball drop. We want to remind everyone to do things to be safe, to wear masks, if you’re not vaccinated please get vaccinated,” Brown said.

Dr. Nancy Nielsen said simply encouraging masks for a large-scale event like this isn’t good enough.

She said Western New York is a high-risk area right now especially with the Omicron variant on the rise and many local cases being made up of the Delta variant.

Even though the event is outside she said people with underlying conditions are still at risk.

She said young and healthy people who are fully vaccinated and boosted are safe to go. For everyone else, she recommends watching from home.

Nielsen said she would’ve liked to see vaccines required like the New York City ball drop.

“If they’re not vaccinated, please do not go because you are at tremendous risk yourself, no question. And I would urge everybody who goes, and I hope they have a good time, I would urge them all to wear masks vaccinated or unvaccinated because we know that it works both ways,” Nielsen said.

The event will have live music, fireworks, and other family activities.

There will be two free ramps available for parking and the Mayor is encouraging people to get a hotel downtown and make a weekend of it.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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