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COVID 19 Reopenings: Organizers Cancel 2021 SF Chinese New Year Parade

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- With a new surge in COVID-19 cases and a vaccine still not available, organizers for San Francisco's annual Chinese New Year parade announced Sunday they were cancelling the 2021 event scheduled for February.

After the cancellation of dozens of major regional events in 2020 since the outbreak of the virus accelerated in mid-March, the Chinese New Years Parade has become the first major local event for 2021 to be cancelled. Previously, the organizers of the annual Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena had announced its 2021 Rose Parade scheduled for New Year's Day would not be held.

The parade -- one of the largest of its kind in the world -- annually draws a 100s of thousands of people to the streets of San Francisco with its vibrant floats, dragon dancers, marching units from local community groups, high school and college bands from across the state and fireworks and is the crowning event of Chinese heritage month and the Chinese New Year.

"We must deal with our current conditions and recognize that plans for everyone's safety in the future is our most important responsibility," the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce said in a news release. "The Chamber decided to cancel the live 2021 Chinese New Year Festivities."

Currently, large gatherings are prohibited by health officials in the state over fears of those becoming 'super spreader' events of the virus. Last week, San Francisco Mayor London Breed slowed further easing of COVID-19 business restriction in the wake of a new surge in local cases.

For over 150 years, the annual celebration has become a treasured San Francisco tradition honoring culture, community, and heritage. There will still be a celebration, but no parade.

"For the first time, we will be displaying a few of our colorful and culturally decorated floats to provide the public a rare opportunity to view these beautiful creations up close," chamber officials said.

There will also be painted Ox statues displayed around San Francisco similar to the "Hearts in San Francisco" project.

They also said in lieu of the live parade, the "Year of the Ox" would be marked by a Parade Broadcast Special airing locally on Saturday, February 20, 2021.

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