This New Year’s Eve is being celebrated like no other, with pandemic restrictions limiting crowds and many people bidding farewell to a year they’d prefer to forget.
Australia was among the first nations to ring in 2021 because of its proximity to the International Date Line. It was a grim end to the year for New South Wales and Victoria, the country’s two most populous states, which are battling new COVID-19 outbreaks.
In past years, 1 million people crowded Sydney’s harbor to watch fireworks that center on the Sydney Harbor Bridge, but most watched on television as authorities urged residents to stay home.
Locations on the harbor were fenced off, popular parks closed and famous night spots eerily deserted. A heavy police presence populated the otherwise quiet site, which resembled a ghost town. A 9 p.m. fireworks display was scrapped, but a seven-minute pyrotechnics show at midnight brought momentary cheer as fireworks spectacularly lit up the iconic Harbor Bridge and its surroundings.
People were only allowed in downtown Sydney if they had a restaurant reservation or were one of five guests of an inner-city resident. People weren’t allowed in the city center without a permit. (AP)