New York City’s Times Square police chief, James O’Neill, wants to take a softer approach to New Year’s Eve revelers this year.
O’Neill, according to the Daily News, would like the department to “rein in” revelers on the heels of reports that an estimated 18 people have been hospitalized with some kind of vomiting illness this week. Police did not publicly identify those ill, but local media reports and commenters cited a party in Midtown Manhattan as a possible source of the illness.
On Thursday, the New York Post reported that some revelers had actually caught the infection while flocking to the Times Square ball drop, which is expected to attract up to a million visitors. More than 30 people were treated for those issues, the newspaper reported.
But O’Neill said he does not want the hospitalizations to be a reason to ban revelers from gathering on the streets during New Year’s Eve.
“We’re not really concerned about the overall crowd,” O’Neill told the News. “It’s possible some people may have gotten sick, but it’s not going to affect the large event.”
O’Neill added that the department has sent out “100 percent” of the 2,000 officers previously slated to monitor revelers to keep them safe from disease or injury.