Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Why There Are No Crowds This Year

Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a problem for the country, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will still occur. However, it will be a bit different than what viewers are used to. The starkest difference between this year's parade and those of years past is that there will be no crowd. Instead, the parade will be a television-only event. Why exactly are there no crowds to watch the parade in Manhattan this year?

To prevent people from gathering close together, which could place them at risk of exposure to COVID-19, the parade decided to forego its traditional march down Manhattan near the Macy's location on 34th Street. Even though there won't be any crowds gathering in the area, rest assured that your favorite parts about the parade will still be incorporated this year. Susan Tercero, the executive producer of the parade, told the New York Post, “Thanksgiving looks a lot different for a lot of people but one thing you can count on is that you’ll see balloons, you’ll see floats, you’ll see Santa." She added, "Safety is our No. 1 priority, and we can’t do this without people in the city of New York and the state really supporting us and guiding us along the way."

The parade has also reduced the number of participants by 88%. The individuals who do attend the parade will be from the New York tri-state area, and they will be wearing masks and maintaining social distance at all times during the event. Instead of the traditional 100 people who operate each balloon, they will be anchored by tractor-trailers this year. Although, there will still be two new balloons for this year's parade — the titular character from Boss Baby and the Red Titan from the popular YouTube series Ryan's World. Unlike previous parades, this year's event will not feature any high school or college marching bands, as there will not be any individuals under the age of 18 in attendance due to safety protocols.

“We realized that schools weren’t sure where they were going to be [in fall],” Tercero said, per Variety. "Most schools were closed. They did not know if they were even going to have a marching band program in the fall. We had to make that decision quickly for them because there was a lot of unknown in their world.”