Philadelphia's New Year's Day Mummers Parade cancelled over virus concerns

Philadelphia's New Year's Day Mummers Parade cancelled over virus concerns
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Philadelphia has canceled the city's planned 2021 Mummer's Day parade due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor said Tuesday.

Mayor Jim Kenney (D) made the announcement during a press conference, according to The Associated Press, with city officials pointing to a lack of an available COVID-19 vaccine as the reasoning.

“I know this news will be disappointing for many Philadelphians,” Kenney said. “It was not an easy decision to make, but as we continue to battle COVID-19 and try to restore some sense of normalcy in our city, we know there will be many difficult decisions to come.”

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The Mummer's Day parade, held on New Year's Day, features city residents dressed in extravagant, colorful costumes usually including sequins, feathers and other accessories. The parade in the past has faced criticism due to some costumes worn by attendees seen as racist or in some cases anti-LGBTQ.

Kenney threatened to end the event permanently after this year's parade, according to the AP, due to residents who appeared at the 2020 parade in blackface.

"The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable. This selfish, hateful behavior has no place in the mummers, or the city itself. We must be better than this. The group was disqualified, and we will be exploring additional penalties," he tweeted following one group's exclusion from the parade.

Pennsylvania has seen its rate of new COVID-19 cases increase in recent days but has yet to see a spike in new cases at a rate seen by other states including Florida and Texas, which are experiencing major surges of the disease.