New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has canceled Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Thanksgiving Day Parade will instead be "re-imagined" as a virtual event. At press conference he held on Monday, Mayor de Blasio stated that, "It will not be the same parade we're used to. [Macy's is] reinventing the event for this moment in history. And you will be able to feel the spirit and the joy of that day." Viewers will be able to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade both online and on TV, with additional details about the various broadcasting lanes to be announced.
Macy's already had to re-adapt its annual 4th of July fireworks display in face of the realities of the pandemic and social distancing. Mayor de Blasio acknowledged the retail chain's efforts while admitting that when it comes to getting back to life as usual in NYC, "There are some things we still can't do. We're looking forward to a lot of them coming back in 2021."
So far, Macy's has not updated its website from the previous statement it posted, regarding plans to re-envision the Thanksgiving Parade for 2020:
"For more than 90 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® has kicked off the holiday season with its signature entertainment spectacle, making it one of the world’s most beloved events. Following our successful, safe and innovative production of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks®, it is our intention to similarly reimagine Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this November. Stay tuned for more details later this fall."
Typically, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade attracts more than 3 million people to New York City, and requires upwards of 10,000 people (including thousands of Macy's employees) to stage the elaborate parade. Obviously, that kind of crowding is seen as a potential "super-spreader event"; after the level of death and disruption that NYC suffered in the initial wave of U.S. COVID-19 infections back in March, city officials (and residents) have been clear about avoiding such risks.
Back in August, Mayor de Blasio suggested that certain aspects of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade could still be held live: "I think some is going to be virtual, it might be some small in-person pieces, spread-out pieces," de Blasio said. "It's not going to look at all, of course, like what we are used to. But the important thing is the traditions will be kept in some way."
No word yet on if those "some small in-person pieces" are still in the plan. Check back with Macy's site, and we'll keep you updated.