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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Isn't Canceled, But It Will Be Different

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Thanksgiving simply isn't Thanksgiving without Macy's annual parade in New York City. Although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in the holiday tradition families have enjoyed for over nine decades, don't worry: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2020 is not canceled. Do brace yourselves, though, because it will be different than years past.

Earlier this week, Macy's announced that it's made some changes to the parade, which has been marching down the streets of New York City since 1924, due to COVID-19 safety measures. In years prior, millions of spectators have been allowed to line up along the route and watch the parade in person, but this year the parade can only be viewed on TV safely at home.

"This year's celebration will shift to a television-only experience while maintaining the spectacle and wonder of this cherished tradition," Macy's said in a statement on the company's website. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio confirmed in a press conference on Monday that the parade "won't be the same" as before.

So what should you expect? For starters, it will be reduced in size and won't follow the typical 2.5 mile parade route to the Macy's store in Herald Square, as Deadline reported. Instead, the company will stage the parade in one specific area. All parade participants will be required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings, along with other personal protective equipment when appropriate, and no one under the age of 18 is allowed to participate.

However, the parade will still feature balloons (carried by specialty vehicles instead of people), floats, street performers, clowns, and an appearance from Santa Claus himself to ring in the holiday season, according to Macy's.

During a daily briefing on Monday, De Blasio confirmed that the parade won't look the same, but said it will feel the same as before. "It will be a different kind of event," he said, according to CNBC. "They're reinventing the event for this moment in history, and you'll be able feel the spirit and the joy of that day on television, online. Not a live parade, but something that really gives us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving Day."

This year, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC on Nov. 26 at 9 a.m. and the department store is urging people to watch the website for more exciting updates to come to this new format over the next two months.

"Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished holiday tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families," Susan Tercero, executive producer of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade said in a statement. "While it will certainly look different in execution, this year's Macy's Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose — to bring joy to the hearts of millions across the nation."

People will still be able to honor their family tradition in a new way when the 94th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs on NBC on Thanksgiving Day.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.