Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to be TV-only in 2020

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is shifting to a TV-only special in 2020 for the first time in its more than 90-year history, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Macy’s and the city of New York announced the plan Monday, saying the safety of participants and spectators is the company’s top priority.

The parade will be produced solely as a TV event, allowing Americans to still enjoy the tradition from the comforts of home.

Other changes in the plan include:

  • Reducing the overall number of participants by about 75% and splitting the remaining participants over two days.
  • All participants will be appropriately socially distanced during performances and be required to wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment depending on their role.
  • Shifting to a television-broadcast-only production with staging for parade elements focused solely in/ around the Herald Square area of Midtown Manhattan.
  • The traditional 2.5-mile parade route will not be utilized this year.
  • No participant in the Parade will be under 18 years of age.
  • Previously selected regional High School and College Marching Bands performances will be deferred to the 2021 Macy’s Parade, with locally based professional marching and musical ensembles taking musical duties in the lineup.
  • Macy’s traditional Giant Balloon Inflation public event on Wednesday will not take place.
  • Macy’s signature giant character balloons will be 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 NYCDOT and NYPD.

"Macy’s believes in celebration and the joy of marking milestone moments with family and friends. The Macy’s Parade is our love letter and gift to the City of New York and the nation," said Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. "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. 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 into the hearts of millions across the nation."