Further adjusting to the realities of the coronavirus pandemic, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will march forward without crowds.
“It will not be the same parade we’re used to,” de Blasio said. “[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.”
The parade will not be live this year, but its reimagined format will still be available to watch on TV, the mayor said. Macy’s said in a statement Monday the parade will keep its signature touchstones: giant helium balloons, floats, performers and, of course, Santa Claus.
Handlers traditionally deployed to carry the giant character balloons along the parade route will be replaced by “an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD,” the statement read. Instead of following the typical 2.5-mile route, the parade elements will be taped in and around Herald Square, Macy’s said.
“Following the success of this summer’s reimagined Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, the Macy’s team meticulously reviewed every area of the Thanksgiving Day playbook to put in place enhanced health and safety practices that align with CDC guidelines, as well as local and state government protocols,” Macy’s statement continued.
The company said this year’s television-only spectacle will be recorded over two days with a reduction in participants by nearly 75 percent. The performers involved will stay social distant and must wear appropriate masks or face coverings.
Reductions also hit the high school and college marching bands. Macy’s said this year’s participants in the parade events must be at least 18 years of age.
“There are some things we still can’t do,” de Blasio said, pointing to the parade. “We’re looking forward to a lot of them coming back in 2021.”
The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC, Thursday, November 26 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.