The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 a year that no one will ever forget, and many people are ready to move on.
With a number of vaccines already seeing distribution, people are looking ahead to 2021 and a return to normalcy at some point in the new year. Until then, the best that most people can look forward to is putting 2020 behind them.
Normally, New Year’s is a time to remember and move on, but the pandemic has changed virtually every aspect of life.
Here’s how some of the most iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations have adapted to a global pandemic to close out 2020.
Anything England can do, Scotland can do better, but this year, the famous Hogmanay celebration will be following London’s example.
The usual Edinburgh celebration sees Prince’s Street blocked off for blocks as partygoers dance to live music and await a big fireworks display, according to the event’s official website.
This year, though, Hogmanay goes virtual and has banned any live events for public safety.
Instead, the City of Edinburgh Council will produce a series of free, online shows that will start airing on Dec. 28and continue through Jan. 1.
The Spanish capital has a very particular set of traditions: thousands of people pack the Puerta del Sol, eat 12 grapes and ring the bells of the clock at the Real Casa de Correos 12 times.
This year, the tourism board canceled the festivities, with the Community of Madrid banning the whole celebration outright, the Local reported.
“The Community of Madrid has agreed to suspend all New Year’s Eve celebrations in public squares or streets across the region,” the regional health authority said.
Instead, residents will have to enjoy a televised version of some events.
LAS VEGAS, USA
The city of sin usually hosts a celebration of over 300,000 people with over 80,000 fireworks lighting up the sky to ring in the New Year.
The pandemic has forced the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to cancel the usual celebrations amid safety concerns, the Review Journal reported.
However, a number of venues will try to carry on as normal, with iconic venues like Caesar’s Palace, The Venetian, The Sahara Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan allowing small groups in to party – reservations required.
Most gatherings – including the city’s planned virtual experience – will include DJ performances, ball drops and confetti.
The Plaza Hotel also plans to still host a fireworks display at midnight.
After Times Square, London’s Trafalgar Square is perhaps the most famous New Year’s Eve celebration. Hundreds of thousands of people pack the streets of London and gather under Admiral Nelson’s statue.
The city usually burns up around 2,000 fireworks in the usual display, but this year will see none.
Due to the spiraling situation in the U.K. in the face of a new strain of the coronavirus, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has told everyone to stay home.
“We simply can’t afford to have the numbers of people who congregate on New Year’s Eve, congregating,” he told LBC.
Instead, Khan hopes to provide something that people can enjoy “in the comfort and safety of their living rooms.”
The mayor’s office has told Londoners to tune into BBC One to watch a “special broadcast.”
Additionally, a number of U.K. groups are attempting to host virtual events of their own, with YouTube providing a “night in” celebration called “Hello 2021: UK,” with performances from Dua Lipa and others, according to the Guardian.
NEW YORK, USA
The city famous for its nearly century-old New Year’s Eve traditions will be trying something new in the face of the global pandemic. Instead of the thousands of people who normally pack Times Square, the city will allow an “extremely limited” group of in-person “honorees.”
Honorees are likely to include first responders and medical professionals.
The usual thousands of attendees will be able to enjoy the celebration virtually, with some experts expecting viewership figures for network broadcasts to hit record highs as a result.
“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on Dec. 31,” Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins said in a statement. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences – still in development – will take place in Times Square.”
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Brazil’s normally festive atmosphere will not go missing even if the city bans public gatherings.
Usually, the city draws millions to join in the annual festivities.
Instead of the traditional fireworks show, Rio will display a light show at locations that the public would not be able to normally reach, such as the top of the Corcovado mountain, according to The Brazilian Report.
Rio de Janeiro City Mayor Marcelo Crivella also plans to hold a moment of silence in honor of COVID-19 victims, according to The Brazilian Report.
Sydney has issued restrictions ahead of the city’s usually famous fireworks display, banning large gatherings on New Year’s Eve, the Guardian reported.
“On New Year’s Eve we don’t want any crowds on the foreshore around Sydney whatsoever,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
However, the city still plans to fire off their usual seven-minute display: residents will be permitted to watch if they have a booking at a restaurant or hospitality venues in the area; otherwise, they will have to watch the display on television.