Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade amid COVID-19: What you need to know

Israelis can watch the pre-recorded festivities on YouTube starting at 4 p.m. Israel Time on Thanksgiving Day.

TOM THE Turkey floats by Macy’s during New York City’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, spreading holiday cheer. (photo credit: AARON OF NEPA/FLICKR)
TOM THE Turkey floats by Macy’s during New York City’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, spreading holiday cheer.
(photo credit: AARON OF NEPA/FLICKR)
Thanksgiving will keep at least some of its traditions this year as Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will still take place – albeit in a unique format amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic – with a star-studded lineup that includes Dolly Parton, Snoopy, Pikachu, Bebe Rexha and Pentatonix, among others.
Due to the virus, the event will take place without spectators and will only march on the last section of the usual 2.5-mile route through New York City. The parade will be recorded over three days and broadcast on television on NBC and Telemundo on Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. to noon in all US time zones.
A livestream, hosted by Mario Lopez, will also be available starting at 4 p.m. Israel Time (9 a.m. Eastern Time) until 7 p.m. Israel Time (12 p.m. Eastern) on Verizon's Twitter and YouTube pages. Viewers can also use Verizon's Parade Portal on their phones or tablets to get a 360° view of the parade.
All participants, staff and performers will be tested for COVID-19 before the parade and will be socially distanced and required to wear masks.
The overall number of participants has been drastically reduced – by about 88%. The parade will occur without the traditional high school and college marching bands. Balloons will be flown with special vehicles instead of the usual 80-100 handlers.
"For nearly 100 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been synonymous with the official start of the holiday season in the United States," wrote the iconic department store on the parade's website. "Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished American tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families."
The parade will feature 18 giant character balloons including Astronaut Snoopy, the Boss Baby, Pikachu, Ronald McDonald, SpongeBob SquarePants and the Elf on the Shelf, among others.
Despite the pandemic, Tom Turkey and Santa Claus won't miss their traditional appearance in front of Macy's flagship store on 34th Street. They will be joined by new floats including the "Big Turkey Spectacular" from Jennie-O, Lifetime's "Christmas in Town Square, "Her Future is STEM-Sational" by Olay and Tom & Jerry's Tourist Trap.
Performers including Dolly Parton, Bebe Rexha, Brett Young, Patti Labelle, CNCO, Jordin Sparks, Pentatonix and Sebastian Yatra will also join the parade to entertain viewers.
Troupes of clowns will be marching around Macy's to put a smile on viewers' faces, even if the smile is behind a mask.
A number of street performances will also join the fun, including Coney Island USA's Mermaid Parade, New York City's Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band, the Big Apple Circus and the West Point Band.