Times Square will not have public audiences this year, unlike the popular tradition to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment announced the decision on Tuesday that people won't be allowed to gather there on December 31. However, it will broadcast on TV and for internet users. In September, organisers had said that the New Year’s Eve celebration will be mostly virtual in order to follow social distancing guidelines. The world-famous ball drop will happen and Gloria Gaynor will perform her 1970s disco hit "I will survive." 'Tis the Season to be Safe! Christmas Tree 2020 Decorations See Facemasks, Toilet Papers and Hand Sanitizers as Xmas Ornaments Amid The Pandemic (See Pics)

The organisation’s statement said, "Safety of New Yorkers and participants is the priority of Times Square New Year’s Eve 2020." The event’s planners consulted medical experts during the planning and decided all festivities adhere to New York's restrictions. People who will enter the specified areas need to follow testing, screening and safety guidelines. Santa Claus Brings COVID-19 Along! 75 People in Belgian Care Home Infected With Coronavirus After Christmas Special Event Sees 'Superspreader' as Father Christmas.

Times Square tweeted saying, "One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year. On December 31st, the Ball will drop in Times Square. Times Square New Year's Eve 2021 is happening visually, virtually, safely. Stay tuned." Italy Imposes Nationwide Travel Restrictions For Christmas Holidays to Control Spread of COVID-19.

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment said all people "will remain masked at all times" except when performing and "will adhere to distancing regulations throughout the production site." The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment declared that this year’s special guests will be the “Heroes of 2020,” including first responders, frontline and essential workers and their families “who sacrificed so much in 2020 to provide care and support for their communities.”

Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement, “The Special Guest plays a pivotal role in the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, most notably by representing resounding resolve and a determined spirit, at a time when the world collectively awaits a renewed beginning." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had applauded organisers for finding "a safe, creative and innovative way for all of us to continue to celebrate this century-old tradition." Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was also only televised only for the first time in 94 years.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 16, 2020 01:13 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).