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Chicago plans largest NYE fireworks show with COVID measures

December 29, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago will host its largest New Year’s fireworks display in city history after canceling last year’s celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Wednesday that the celebration after last year’s hiatus was planned with COVID-19 safety in mind, including multiple opportunities to watch the show outside or at home.

The free 1.5-mile long display will be synchronized to music at eight sites along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River starting at midnight. For those who don’t want to brave the cold or don’t have city or lakefront views at home, the show will be broadcast live on WGN-TV.

Indoor viewing venues like Navy Pier will require proof of vaccination or negative test results. The popular tourist site will also offer free rapid tests onsite.

Masks are already required indoors under Chicago’s mandate. Starting Monday, Chicago will require proof of vaccination at restaurants and other indoor venues.

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The holiday comes amid a worldwide COVID-19 surge fueled by the omicron variant.

“People have to be smart and recognize that the pandemic is still with us, that the omicron variant is real and that they ought to do everything they can to protect themselves,” Lightfoot said.

Also making a return are free train and bus rides on public transportation from 10 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m. Saturday. The Chicago Transit Authority’s holiday tradition was scrapped last year.