LA’s Kingdom Day Parade was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

This year’s edition of Los Angeles’ long-running Kingdom Day Parade, scheduled for Jan. 17, has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, organizers said Friday.

After a pandemic-forced break in 2021, the parade was to return for its 37th year with a route running from the intersection of Western Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Leimert Park. The parade, which typically includes floats, drilling teams and marching bands, has previously drawn hundreds of thousands of spectators.

For the record:

16:17 January 7, 2022Councilor Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s district includes parts of the parade route, but not Leimert Park, as an earlier version of this story incorrectly said.

The parade’s board made the decision Thursday after new COVID-19 data was released a day earlier by county public health director Barbara Ferrer, said Adrian Dove, president of the Congress of Racial Equality of California, which sponsors the parade.

The board voted unanimously to “take the drastic action of canceling this year’s parade on the streets to avoid even the slightest opportunity to sponsor a super-spreading event,” Dove said in a statement.

California coronavirus infections rose to record territory earlier this week as the number of holiday weekend cases was counted and Ferrari’s office changed its Public health order Wednesday to include additional measures to reduce transmission risks. The changes include a ceiling on participation in outdoor events of 5,000 people, in line with changing state rules.

“She knocked us out with the report,” Dove said in an interview. “I saw it, and I thought I would not be able to sleep at night if I was engaged in a mega-event that risked killing people.”

The highly transmissible Omicron variant has fueled an unprecedented increase in the number of cases in LA County, where the county registered a record 37,215 new infections on Thursday. Hospitals see far fewer critically ill coronavirus-positive patients than they did last winter, but the health care system still faces challenges, including dealing with virus-related staff shortages.

Vaccinated and boosted individuals are 38 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated, according to the Department of Public Health.

In a statement, City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, whose district includes part of the parade route, said his office had been pushing to cancel the event to protect the community.

“Of course we will miss the kids and families on People’s Street, the live music and the festive atmosphere,” Harris-Dawson said. “But we know that health and well-being in society must come first.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is often held as a day of service, and LA Works and Americorps offers both local volunteer opportunities, including ways to volunteer virtually.

The town of Inglewood also canceled its planned personal celebration in honor of King. However, health officials said this week that they still expect the Super Bowl to take place as planned next month at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium. The match, the first Super Bowl to be held in the Los Angeles area since 1993, is scheduled for February 13th.

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