The traditonal New Year’s Eve party in Times Square in New York City

2022 arrived in the U.S. as the clock struck midnight Saturday in the Eastern time zone.

The traditonal New Year’s Eve party in Times Square in New York City was scaled back for a second year in a row Friday night because of the coronavirus – but optimism for the new year remained intact.

City officials and NYPD brass were limiting the gathering to 15,000 people for the annual midnight ball drop, a decades-long tradition that normally attracts far greater numbers.

As usual, those in crowd in Midtown Manhattan included people who got there early.

Comedian Jimmy Failla performs on All-American New YearVideo
“I’ve been waiting since 2:45 p.m.,” Henry Brown, 57, of Manhattan, told the New York Post.

Attendees had to show proof of vaccination, the Post reported.

“They checked my vaccination card four times,” Bryce Steven, 25, of Albany, New York, told the newspaper. “It’s good, though. It means they care about us.”

Ja Rule and Ashanti perform at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in New York City.
Ja Rule and Ashanti perform at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in New York City. (Associated Press)

The Big Apple was seeing relatively mild early-winter weather, with temperatures around 50 degrees as the clock neared midnight. Other years have seen far less comfortable conditions.

Revelers are given balloons as they gather in Times Square in New York Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 while attending New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Revelers are given balloons as they gather in Times Square in New York Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 while attending New Year’s Eve celebrations. (Associated Press)

Across the U.S., other celebrations were underway in multiple cities – including Nashville, Tennessee, site of Fox’s “All-American New Year” celebration. Pete Hegseth, Rachel Campos-Duffy and others hosted the event from the famous Wildhorse Saloon in Music City.

Fox Nation’s Lawrence Jones speaks during Fox’s All-American New Year in Times Square, New York City, Dec. 31, 2021.
Fox Nation’s Lawrence Jones speaks during Fox’s All-American New Year in Times Square, New York City, Dec. 31, 2021. (Jennifer Golotko/FOX News)

Additionally, Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo and Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek were reporting from New Orleans’ French Quarter, while Fox News congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie was in Folly Beach in Charleston, S.C.. And Fox Business correspondent Madison Alworth watched revelers ring in the new year from Tampa, Florida.

More than 2,000 flights are canceled on New Year’s Day as the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to upend airline operations during the holiday travel season.

According to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website, 2,311 flights entering, leaving or within the U.S. were canceled as of 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday. Another 424 flights were delayed.

Southwest has the most cancelations of the major U.S. carriers with 457 scrapped flights as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, nearly 190 American Airlines flights were canceled in addition to 180 Delta and 142 United flights. JetBlue had 118 canceled flights and Spirit had 91.

The disruptions have continued throughout the holiday week, stranding holiday travelers at airports across the nation.

Travelers line up at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh / AP Newsroom)

In fact, there were nearly 1,000 canceled flights entering, leaving or inside the U.S. on Christmas alone, up from 690 flights scrapped on Christmas Eve, according to FlightAware data.

Major carriers such as Delta, United and JetBlue have all blamed the omicron variant for causing staffing problems that ultimately lead to flight cancellations. Earlier this week, a United spokesperson noted that it was unclear when normal operations would return.

Flight delays and cancellations tied to staffing shortages have been a regular problem for the U.S. airline industry over the past year.

However, the latest disruptions come amid a time when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) projected that travel volume will near pre-pandemic levels.  

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