Is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Still Happening This Year?

Coronavirus changed both the look and the schedule of the 2020 Thanksgiving Day Parade

Last Updated: November 26, 2020 @ 5:26 AM

Macy’s and the city of New York are taking precautions to make sure the spread of the virus is kept to an absolute minimum at this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Each of the participants in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will be tested for the coronavirus prior to the event’s start, and it’s possible some of the floats or balloons could be cut last minute if anyone tests positive.

The 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place in New York City this year, but the festivities will look way different than past years and only viewable on television.

“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 said in a statement about the celebrations earlier this year.

No in-person attendance is allowed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and all the parade participants will be masked and made to socially distance. The roughly 100 people that usually hold the balloons in place throughout the parade will be replaced by vehicles, since it’s difficult to socially distance near even the largest of flying creatures. Only 960 parade staff will help put on the event this year, compared to the typical 10,000 people that are usually employed.

Macy’s cut 75% of the usual participants as well as the parade route, which isn’t the typical 2.5-mile trek through downtown New York, and will instead be a one-block radius between W. 34th St., 6th and 7th Ave. In-person viewing this year is prohibited and the streets around the performance area will be shut off to keep people from gathering.

Some of the performances this year will be pre-taped — including the Santa Claus and Rockettes Broadway appearances.

Longtime parade commentator Al Roker will return to help fans follow the festivities this year after his recent surgery for prostate cancer, and he told “Today” show host Hoda Kotb last week he’s not “out of the woods” but looking forward to the parade.

This year’s abridged Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will start at 9 a.m. eastern time on NBC.