The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is going forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic — sort of.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will not be live this year and won't "be the same parade we're used to." Macy's detailed the plan for its "reimagined" event.
The "traditional 2.5-mile parade route will not be utilized" this year, Macy's said. Instead, Macy's is planning a "television-broadcast-only production" focused around New York's Herald Square and will be reducing the number of participants by 75 percent and splitting them up over two days. Participants will be "socially distanced during performances," wearing face coverings and "additional personal protective equipment depending on their role."
Character balloons will be flown "without the traditional 80-100 handlers" as Macy's makes use of an "innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles," the company said. There will be no participants in the parade who are younger than 18, and the high school and college marching band performances that were previously selected are being put off until 2021.
"While it will certainly look different in execution, this year's Macy's Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose — to bring joy into the hearts of millions across the nation," said the parade's executive producer, Susan Tercero.
Macy's previously put on a modified version of its traditional Fourth of July fireworks, making use of displays in the days prior to July 4, NBC News notes. De Blasio said that as with the Fourth of July fireworks show, "it's really important to keep these traditions continuing." He added, "Next year, I look forward to things coming back in all their greatness so we can enjoy them together in person again."