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COVID cancels Gulf Coast Mardi Gras parades for 2021

Photo from Long Beach’s 2020 Mardi Gras parade

Long Beach Mardi Gras parade fans will need to wait until 2022 to enjoy the season’s revelry. The big event downtown won’t happen in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leaders of the Carnival Association of Long Beach made the decision in a January 5 announcement, but, Long Beach Mardi Gras supporters won’t be alone in their disappointment.

In late December, Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo’’ Gilich announced his city had canceled all Mardi Gras parades for February 2021 because of the winter’s spike in COVID-19 cases around the U.S. and across the Magnolia State, including significantly rising numbers in Harrison County.

Gilich doubted the rapid spread of people getting infected with the coronavirus would be much better by the time Mardi Gras activities rolled around in a few weeks. Usually, about 80,000 people crowd Biloxi streets on parade day. Gulf Coast Carnival Association officials supported the mayor’s decision.

So keeping these bleak COVID-19 trends in mind, leaders of the Carnival Association of Long Beach announced their decision to pull the plug on a Mardi Gras Parade in the Friendly City.

Asked about other events on the calendar for 2021 for the Carnival Association of Long Beach, CALB President Jason D. Green isn’t very optimistic. It all depends on what the future weeks and months bring in the new year.

“At the moment, there are no scheduled events,’’ Green said. “We are like everyone else – wait and see what happens with the vaccine’’ as well as state and federal guidelines.

Meanwhile, the St. Paul’s Carnival Association and City of Pass Christian officials canceled the 2021 Mardi Gras parade in their Gulf Coast hometown. And again, COVID-19’s rising statistics were to blame. The same thing with Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans – those events won’t happen. Mardi Gras 2021 falls on Tuesday, February 16.

As of January 1, more than 346,000 Americans had died from the coronavirus. That includes more than 4,787 fatalities in Mississippi.

Mardi Gras festivities, including parades, attracted huge crowds in New Orleans in February 2020. With few health protocols in place, the party scene in the Crescent City contributed to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases before the worldwide pandemic was declared in March.

So, due to concerns about the health of citizens, New Orleans will no longer go full blast with Mardi Gras in 2021. While Mardi Gras always revs up the region’s economy, Big Easy leaders banned parades because of the COVID crisis.

“Parades of any kind will not be permitted,’’ the City’s website said. Parades will not be possible, “because large gatherings have proven to be super spreader events.’’

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