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De Blasio 'hopeful' NYC's New Year's Eve celebration will still happen despite Omicron

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) says he's hopeful this year's New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square will go forward despite concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

De Blasio spoke with CNN's New Day on Wednesday as New York has been setting new records for the number of new COVID-19 cases. He said the city is currently working with health-care leaders in planning the event, which would take place outdoors with vaccines required. "We're looking to add additional measures to make it even safer, so we're still in discussions," de Blasio said. "If we're able to figure out the right formula to keep people safe, that's what we're working on right now." 

The New York City mayor didn't specify what additional health and safety measures may be added, but he said he's "hopeful" the event will still happen. He added, "We should not assume the answer to Omicron is shutdown. We should assume the answer to Omicron is find the measures that work to keep things moving." 

De Blasio on MSNBC said he believes it's "important to send a message" that "we can continue as a city and as a society" by continuing to hold the New Year's Eve event. A decision is expected to be made before Christmas. De Blasio also told CNN city officials are "not telling people to hide or hunker down or surrender to this situation" amid the Omicron surge, and those who are vaccinated should "keep living because we're not going to shut down. I want to be very clear." 

The comments come after Fox announced it would cancel its planned New Year's Eve special, with the network saying the "recent velocity of the spread of Omicron cases has made it impossible to produce a live special in Times Square that meets our standards."