NEW YORK (Reuters) – Macy’s July 4th fireworks spectacular will return to the New York City sky this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday, after the pandemic led officials to opt for a series of smaller shows in 2020 to discourage crowds from gathering.
The announcement is the latest in a series of events marking the emergence of the country’s most populous city from more than a year of restrictions to prevent new coronavirus infections.
Last summer, organizers altered the traditional one-night extravaganza, instead presenting short nightly fireworks displays in each of the city’s five boroughs, beginning at the end of June. Officials made no public announcement of the time and place of each show to assure residents could not assemble beforehand.
“This will be the biggest show yet,” de Blasio vowed at a news conference, calling the fireworks a “tremendous sign of the rebirth of New York City.”
Crowds will once again be allowed to gather to watch the spectacle along the East River, which separates Manhattan from the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. The show will begin at about 9:25 p.m. ET (1:00 a.m. GMT) on the Fourth of July, Independence Day.
New Yorkers will have the option of watching the festivities in areas reserved for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Other areas will be open to unvaccinated individuals.
Earlier this week, the mayor announced New York would host a mega-concert in Central Park as part of a week-long celebration of the city’s reopening. The line-up of musical acts that will perform has yet to be announced.
In recent weeks many U.S. states have relaxed or lifted pandemic curbs, citing progress in vaccinating residents against coronavirus and a decline in cases.
Chicago, the third-largest city in the country, is set to lift all capacity restrictions on Friday. Philadelphia will also drop its last two COVID-19 restrictions – the indoor mask mandate and the 11:00 p.m. last call for restaurants.
(Reporting by Maria Caspani, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)