London’s traditional New Year’s Eve firework show will not take place again this year due to ‘uncertainties caused by Covid’.
Organisers fear the event, which regularly attracts 100,000 people to the streets around Victoria Embankment, could be curtailed or cancelled at a later if Covid cases spike this winter.
Last year’s event was scrapped in September and by December the country was pushed into a second lockdown.
But almost 80 per cent of people in the UK are now double-vaccinated, while large events have been operating since June.
A light and fireworks show – watched by millions on television – was held over London in place of the traditional fireworks show.
And a spokesman for Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said his team were looking at ‘exciting new options’ as an alternative for this New Year’s Eve.
‘This year, as always, London will be welcoming the new year in a spectacular way,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, our world-famous New Year’s Eve display will not be held on the banks of the Thames this year.
Organisers fear the event, which regularly attracts 100,000 people to the streets around Victoria Embankment, could be curtailed or cancelled at a later if Covid cases spike this winter
A spokesman for Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (pictured), said his team were looking at ‘exciting new options’ as an alternative to the firework show
‘Last year’s successful show took place in a slightly different way due to the pandemic, and this year a number of exciting new options are being considered as part of our New Year’s Eve celebrations in London.
‘Further details of this year’s celebration will be announced in due course.’
Last year New Year’s Eve took place in the midst of the third Covid lockdown, which was imposed in December after the sudden spread of the Alpha (Kent) variant.
All events were cancelled and people were urged to only celebrate the start of 2021 with friends or family that they already lived with.
Instead of London’s traditional firework show, there was a 10-minute display over the Thames aired on the BBC at midnight.
It began with a poem which addressed the pandemic, that said: ‘In the year of 2020 a new virus came our way; We knew what must be done and so to help we hid away.’
Light projections lit up the sky over the O2 Arena, including the NHS logo in a heart accompanied by a child’s voice saying: ‘Thank you NHS heroes’.
The show also recognised the late Captain Sir Tom Moore and the Black Lives Matter movement.
More than 49 million people have now had a first vaccine dose – about 85 per cent of over-12s. More than 45 million – about 78 per cent of over-12s – have had both doses.
Cases numbers however have been rising since the start of this month, with yesterday’s figures showing 40,224 new infections.
It marked the sixth day in a row that cases have risen week-on-week, although they have been hovering between 30,000 and 40,000 a day since mid-August. The current daily average is 37,991 new cases per day.
A New Year’s Eve fireworks display was first held in London on New Year’s Eve 1999, when the city saw in the new millennium.
It has then been held in most years since with displays that often celebrated major events of the year including the Olympics, Queen’s jubilee and centenary of women being given the vote.
Plans for an alternative event in Trafalgar Square have been lodged with Westminster Council, according to MyLondon
A £10 charge for tickets was introduced for New Year’s Eve 2014, by then London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Plans for an alternative event in Trafalgar Square have been lodged with Westminster Council, according to MyLondon.
Organisers want to host films, live and recorded music, alcohol sales and dance events.
Details from the authority’s website states it will run from Friday, December 31 at 12pm to 1am on New Year’s Day.
Trafalgar Square has capacity for up to 19,999 people. However the documents state the event will be limited to 9,999.