The annual New Year's Day Rose Parade has been canceled for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and concerns by organizers that it could become a potential super-spreader event.
The Rose Parade, the signature celebration held annually on New Year's Day during a week of festivities that draw large crowds to Pasadena, was last canceled in 1945.
"The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,” said Bob Miller, 2021 President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade."
The Valley Hunt Club started this celebration in 1890 with carriages decorated with flowers. Fast forward in time, the parade now has floats, marching bands, and equestrian units that travel five and a half miles down Colorado Boulevard.
The only times the parade has been canceled was back in 1942, 1943 and 1945 due to World War II.
Planning for the event typically starts in February.
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"In addition to the advance planning required by our band and equestrian units, the construction of our floats takes many months and typically requires thousands of volunteers to gather in ways that aren’t in compliance with safety recommendations and won’t be safe in the coming months,” said David Eads, Executive Director/CEO. “While we are extremely disappointed that we are unable to host the parade, we believe that not doing so will prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as protect the legacy of the Rose Parade for generations to come.”
Organizers commissioned a safety report by the Keck School of Medicine at USC on what it would take to host the parade in 2021 under restrictions in place due to the pandemic. That report indicated that even with adherence to strict public health guidelines, like six-foot distancing and face masks, large crowds would be inevitable, creating a high-risk setting and possibly a super-spreader event.
The event showcasing Southern California is attended by people from throughout the country and travelers from abroad.
“Such travel represents infection risk to the travelers, but also may lead to the importation of the virus to the area from other regions of the country and world as well as exportation of the virus to other regions the national and world when these spectators return home,” the Tournament of Roses said in a statement. “
California reported more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases Tuesday -- its largest single-day total. The previous single-day record was set July 9 at 9,816.
Los Angeles County is the epicenter of the pandemic in the nation's most populous state. As of Tuesday, more than 140,300 cases were reported by the county health department.
Planning for the 2021 Rose Bowl game, which is a college football playoff semifinal game, is still going on.