L.A.’s Kingdom Day Parade canceled over 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 hiatus in 2021, the parade was set 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, drill teams and marching bands, has drawn hundreds of thousands of spectators in the past.

For the record:

4:17 p.m. Jan. 7, 2022Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s district includes parts of the parade route but not Leimert Park, as an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated.

The parade’s board of directors made the decision on Thursday after new COVID-19 data was released a day earlier by county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, said Adrian Dove, chairman 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 street to avoid even the faintest possibility of sponsoring a super spreader event,” Dove said in a statement.

Coronavirus infections in California surged into record territory early this week as case counts from the holiday weekend were tallied, and Ferrer’s office modified its public health orders Wednesday to include additional measures to reduce transmission risks. The modifications include capping attendance for outdoor events at 5,000 people, in accordance with changing state rules.

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

The highly transmissible Omicron variant has fueled an unprecedented spike in L.A. County case numbers, with the county recording a record 37,215 new infections on Thursday. Hospitals are seeing far fewer critically ill coronavirus-positive patients than they did last winter, but the health system still faces challenges, including dealing with virus-related staffing 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 children and families on People’s Street, the live music and the festive atmosphere,” Harris-Dawson said. “However, we know the health and well-being of the community must come first.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday is often observed as a day of service, and L.A. Works and Americorps are both offering local volunteer opportunities, including ways to volunteer virtually.

The city of Inglewood also canceled its planned in-person celebration honoring King. However, health officials said this week that they still expect that the Super Bowl can take place as planned next month at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium. The game, the first Super Bowl to be held in the Los Angeles area since 1993, is scheduled for Feb. 13.




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