The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be live and back on the streets of Manhattan this year, though social distancing, masks and other health and safety measures will be part of the spectacle.
The resumption of the parade, with its cavalcade of giant balloons, clowns, floats, marching bands, celebrities, performances and Santa Claus, was revealed by Macy’s and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Last year due to the pandemic, the parade was made for television viewing only.
“For our 95th [anniversary] celebration, we are delighted to return this cherished holiday tradition closer to its original form as we march down the streets of New York City and into the homes of a nationwide audience” watching the television broadcast, Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, said in a statement. Coss said the parade has grown to become “an icon of American pop culture as it annually marks the official start of the holiday season.”
The Thanksgiving parade will start at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25.
“We applaud Macy’s work to creatively continue this beloved tradition last year and look forward to welcoming back parade watchers to experience it safely, live and in person this November,” De Blasio said in a statement.
Macy’s indicated that for the parade it has partnered with the city and New York State “to ensure health and safety practices are aligned with current CDC guidelines, as well as local and state government protocols. Following the most up-to-date health guidelines, the City of New York will manage public viewing locations and safety procedures along designated portions of the route with access details to be announced.”
Details on the exact public viewing locations, including viewing maps, entry guidelines and restrictions, will be revealed in November, Macy’s said. Spectators are encouraged to check macys.com/parade in advance of going to the parade route.
Several health and safety protocols are being implemented for the event. According to Macy’s:
• All volunteer participants and staff will need to be vaccinated. Vaccine verification will be conducted at all back of house entry points. A few exceptions to this procedure may be made at the sole discretion of Macy’s and its medical consultant based on select extenuating circumstances. For those rare instances, Macy’s medical consultant will administer COVID-19 testing and clear the individual for parade participation.
• All participants and staff regardless of vaccination status will wear face coverings and additional protective equipment, as warranted by their role. As appropriate, exceptions may include singers, dancers and musicians performing down the route or for the national broadcast.
• Macy’s will implement a reduction in the overall number of participants of between 10 and 20 percent (about 800 to 1,600 participants).
• Social distancing practices will be in place at all interior/exterior parade operations including costuming areas, seating and participant check-in.
The U.S. has been experiencing an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. Macy’s said along with government agencies and health partners, it will continue to monitor evolving health trends and will be ready to implement contingency plans should conditions warrant.
Macy’s also indicated that its production plan is subject to change, and that it is considering whether the balloon inflation event, which in the past has been staged on the west side of Manhattan the evening before the parade, will be held. A decision will be revealed in November.