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New Year’s Eve in Times Square incorporates virtual elements

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, file photo, Joey Flores, of California, uses his cellphone as confetti falls during a New Year's celebration in New York's Times Square. New York Citys counterterrorism czar expects Times Square to be the safest place on the planet Earth on New Years Eve. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, file photo, Joey Flores, of California, uses his cellphone as confetti falls during a New Year's celebration in New York's Times Square. New York Citys counterterrorism czar expects Times Square to be the safest place on the planet Earth on New Years Eve. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – New Year’s Eve in Times Square will incorporate virtual elements, organizers said Wednesday as they gear up for a celebration that will have to be scaled down and socially distant in response to the coronavirus.

Details are still coming together, but the Times Square Alliance, Jamestown Properties and Countdown Entertainment said in a news release that the annual event will have an extremely limited group of in-person honorees.

A virtual experience will be created to allow people to take part in the countdown to 2021 from wherever they are, organizers said.

“More than ever in these divided and fear-filled times, the world desperately needs to come together symbolically and virtually to celebrate the people and things we love and to look forward with a sense of renewal and new beginnings," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance.

The event will honor essential workers and others who have made a difference in 2020, they said.