New Year’s Eve this year in Times Square will be a “full-strength celebration,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week.

During a news conference on Tuesday, de Blasio spoke on the importance of continuing to promote practices that “keep New Yorkers safe” amid the ongoing pandemic. “And part of what’s great about our recovery is when we bring back great New York City traditions,” he said before introducing the strategy behind the festivities ringing in 2022.

Unlike last previous year, which maintained a dramatically scaled-back approach to the annual proceedings, this go-around sees the city returning to the size and scope seen in pre-pandemic iterations. Achieving this, of course, is made possible by requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination and a valid photo ID.

“Yes, we are proud to announce the Times Square wonderful celebration, Times Square ball drop, everything coming back full strength, the way we love it,” de Blasio said. “Hundreds of thousands of people there to celebrate. We can finally get back together again. It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a joy for this city. Now, let’s do it the right way and let’s do it the safe way.”

The decision marks the latest example of normality returning in areas where vaccination rates are higher, though the pandemic itself is still very much an ongoing issue. For some time now, a number of event venues nationwide have been requiring vaccination proof for entry, a move which has helped many people return (at least in some capacity) to many of the activities the pandemic previously made impossible.

In undervaccinated regions, however, misinformation has continued to spread while local political leaders fan the flames. And with all that in mind, see below for a sampler platter of reactions to word that New Year’s Eve in Times Square would be back at “full-strength” as we all put 2021 to rest.

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