Here’s What Is Different About the 2020 Macy’s Parade Due to the Pandemic

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is still happening this year amid the pandemic, but things will be different because of what’s happening in the world.

In normal years, it’s estimated that 3 million people line the streets of New York City on Thanksgiving morning to watch the balloons and floats march down Broadway en route to Herald Square.

For 2020, the parade route is being shortened significantly and will only take place along 34th street near the flagship Macy’s store. This is the portion of the parade that we normally see on TV every year and the street will be closed down to detract spectators from congregating.

“Every year we have two parades: There’s the one for New Yorkers who line the parade along the streets, and we knew that couldn’t happen, we couldn’t march from uptown to downtown,” executive producer Susan Tercero told Variety. “The other parade is the one that happens on television for 50 million people. We knew that was going to be our safest way of moving forward.”

The city of New York will be treating the parade like a movie set and the NYPD will make sure people can’t crash the event.

Balloons, floats, musical performances, and Santa Claus will all appear, but the amount of people participating in the event has been reduced by 88% and those people will only hail from the New York/Tri-State area.

“We found ways to have a balance of both [live and pre-tape],” Tercero said. “We will still be doing it live because there is some magic in that. I think that people are missing live entertainment, one of those things where you never know what’s going to happen. And people will want to tune in to see how we put it all together.”

There will be NO marching bands from high schools or colleges this year as the producers decided to not include anyone under the age of 18 due to health and safety concerns.

The balloon inflation public event that happens the night before Thanksgiving is also not happening this year. The balloons also will not be operated by hundreds of people holding the ropes. Instead, Toro tractor vehicles will tow them.

“You’re still going to see them flying high,” Tercero said. “It’s just the way that they are being carried down the street is different. We have done many, many iterations of this and training to try and make sure that this is the right way to go. I think it’s going to still get the same essence and the balloons flying high amongst the buildings that we’re used to seeing.”

Here’s the FULL lineup of performers and celeb guests you can expect to see at the event!

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