How the 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was different this year
The Thanksgiving tradition went on this year - but with big changes. There was no actual parade this year.
Instead musical acts, floats, and the giant balloons marched one block - to Macy's Herald Square - and featured on the live, national television special.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Macy’s put in place robust health measures across all areas of the production.
As part of Macy’s comprehensive health and wellness plan, below is a sampling of the safety procedures and enhancements that were implemented. They included, but were not limited to, the following:
1. The traditional 2.5-mile parade route not being utilized this year, the only way to view the celebration was on television.
2. All participants, staff and performers were tested for COVID-19 and underwent wellness checks prior to their parade participation.
3. All participants were appropriately socially distanced during staging and performances, and required to wear face coverings; additional personal protective protocols will be implemented based on the participant’s role.
4. The overall number of participants were reduced by approximately 88%, and split over three days.
5. No participant in the parade was under 18 years of age.
6. The majority of parade participants hailed from the New York tri-state area.
7. Previously selected regional high school and college marching band performances were deferred to the 2021 parade, with locally based cultural and professional marching and musical ensembles taking over performance duties in the lineup.
8. A minute selection of elements were showcased on television from previous parade appearances.
9. A selection of Macy’s signature giant character balloons were flown without the traditional 80-100 handlers and instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYC Department of Transportation and the NYPD.
10. Macy’s traditional Giant Balloon Inflation public event in New York City, the evening before Thanksgiving, did not take place.