For the first time in 75 years, the 132nd Tournament of Roses Parade will not go on due to the coronavirus pandemic, parade officials announced Wednesday.
Parade officials said they had hoped to be able to safely hold the parade, however, it soon became clear it would not be possible. Tournament of Roses Chief Executive David Eads said the organization is looking at alternate ways of celebrating the new year.
“Like most people, having never lived through a pandemic before ... our thoughts were that the parade was 10 months away and we would be fine,” Eads told the L.A. Times. However, as infections confined to spike throughout the country and restrictions were extended, Eads says "the reality of the pandemic set in.”
Officials are still planning to host the Rose Bowl Game with an empty or socially distanced stadium, but it's still unclear whether the game will still happen.
The last time the parade was canceled was between 1942 and 1945 during World War II.
Additionally, the event faced other challenges that were brought on by the pandemic. While the parade is still more than five months away, organizers begin planning for the next year's event in February. That preparation was put off due to COVID-19.
“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 Eads. “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.”
According to the statement, the organization partnered with public health officials at the USC Keck School of Medicine to conduct a report on whether it was possible to host the annual event. The report found that even with that even with an intensive effort to "ensure compliance with public health measures such as six-foot distancing and face masks," Rose Parade activities before, during and after the event would "inevitably lead to large numbers of individuals (many of whom represent high risk groups for COVID-19 complications, such as retirees over age 60) in close proximity to each other, potentially, in some cases, without masks."
"This creates a high-risk environment for viral spread, including super-spreader events," the statement added.
“For 132 years, the Tournament of Roses has been able to bring the hope and joy of the new year to people around the world,” Eads said. “We’re really disappointed that we’re not going to be able to do that again this year, but the health and well-being of all our participants and guests is our top priority.”
Photo: Getty Images