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Bomb-sniffing dogs? Check. Times Square crowd? Not this year

New York Town police have grew to become to acquainted ways forward of Thursday’s iconic ball drop, deploying bomb-sniffing canines and sand-filled sanitation vehicles to protect in opposition to explosions

NEW YORK — New York Town police grew to become to acquainted ways forward of Thursday’s New 12 months’s Eve celebrations, deploying bomb-sniffing canines and sand-filled sanitation vehicles supposed to protect in opposition to explosions.

However the division’s playbook this yr contains an bizarre mandate: fighting crowds of any dimension from accumulating in Occasions Sq..

Bringing up issues over the unfold of COVID-19, police closed the Crossroads of the Global to cars and pedestrians in the dark and mentioned they’d disperse any onlookers venturing right into a so-called “frozen zone” — the blocks surrounding the ball that traditionally draw shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.

The coronavirus has upended public lifestyles for months, and New 12 months’s Eve might be no other. This yr, police mentioned, revelers headed to Occasions Sq. may not be accredited previous police traces.

“In the event you suppose you’re going so that you could stand there and watch the ball, you’re flawed,” Leader of Division Terence Monahan mentioned, relating to the glittering, crystal ball that descends down a flagpole in Occasions Sq. each and every New 12 months’s Eve to mark the stroke of middle of the night.

The NYPD introduced a two-part freeze that can turn out to be extra expansive at three p.m. Even visitors at 5 accommodations within the space had been advised to stick within.

Juanita Holmes, leader of patrol for the NYPD, steered would-be partygoers to ring in 2021 “from the relaxation of your house.”

“Coming to Occasions Sq. is a circle of relatives custom for some. This is a bucket record merchandise for others. However this yr is other,” she mentioned. “I will’t emphasize sufficient how essential it’s for everybody to stick house.”

The Police Division will nonetheless roll out heavy guns groups, explosive-sniffing canines, drones and sand vehicles. But it surely has deliberate a greatly scaled-back presence in Occasions Sq., together with an 80% relief in its standard staff assigned to the realm.

“We at all times have to organize for the worst relating to counterterrorism overlays,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea mentioned, “however the crowds is probably not like they had been in different years.”

This yr’s birthday party will spread with out the standard throngs of cheering, kissing revelers. Certainly, the development’s particular visitors, first responders and crucial staff, had been anticipated to look at the festivities from a personal, well-spaced space.

“It’s virtually like a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” Shea mentioned, invoking the 1990s “display about not anything.”

“This can be a ball drop about not anything, the place you’ll’t see,” he mentioned, “so you may also keep house.”

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