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Macy's will still hold Thanksgiving Day Parade amid pandemic

The Hill logo The Hill 11/25/2020 Sarah Polus
a group of people walking in front of a crowd: Macy's will still hold Thanksgiving Day Parade amid pandemic © Getty Images Macy's will still hold Thanksgiving Day Parade amid pandemic

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place this year, despite cases of COVID-19 skyrocketing around the country.

The event, which typically draws crowds of about 3.5 million, has been reworked amid the coronavirus pandemic to largely focus on socially distanced entertainment.

"Some is going to be virtual, there might be some small in-person pieces, spread out pieces, it's not going to look at all of course like how we are used to - but the important thing is the traditions will be kept in some way," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said, according to ABC 7.

This year, the parade will forgo the usual 2.5-mile route and instead events will be concentrated to the 34th St. block. Many performances will be pre-taped instead of live and most performers will be sourced locally to prevent out-of-state travel. The floats will also not have the usual 80 to 100 handlers, but instead will be steered with specialized vehicles.

"Since we aren't marching down the streets of NYC this year, the only place to see all the performances, gigantic balloons & fabulous floats is from the comfort & safety of your home," the Macy's website reads.

"Traditions like this are comforting and they're uplifting," said Susan Tercero, executive producer of the parade.

"New York has always been a tough city. It bounces back. It takes its blows and then it continues on. And I think it's extremely important for us to be that display this holiday season. Regardless of what's happened, New York needs to be that beacon of light in the darkness and this parade, I think, is symbolic of that."

New York City was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in March and April, when the outbreak first hit the United States. The Empire State as a whole maintained a low transmission rate throughout the summer, but in the past month cases have been on the rise.

The city in particular has seen a rise in cases in the borough of Staten Island and parts of Queens, according to data released by the NYC Health Department.

This year marks the 94th year of the annual Thanksgiving spectacle.

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