For the second year in a row, New York’s annual Fleet Week celebration will be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US Navy announced Monday.
That means New Yorkers won’t get the chance to meet in-person the thousands of sailors, Marines and members of the Coast Guard who typically visit New York City as part of the yearly tradition.
This year for the 33rd annual event, all in-person events associated with Fleet Week New York will be canceled and instead the Navy will host a celebration in a “virtual environment” on social media May 26 through May 31, officials said.
The Navy cited “ongoing concerns with COVID-19” as the reason for keeping the event virtual.
“The Navy is committed to doing everything it can to defeat the coronavirus. Keeping our Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen at home is the best way to ensure we protect the health and safety of New York and our force so we can return to normal as soon as possible,” Rear Admiral Charles Rock, the commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, said in a statement.
Last year, New York’s Fleet Week happened virtually for the first time in history due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Videos posted on social media as part of 2020’s event were viewed by more than 170,000 people, which the Navy argued allowed the military branches to show off their capabilities to at least 66,000 more people than they were able to through in-person ship tours and aircraft demonstrations the previous year.
In 2019, about 103,000 people took tours of ships moored throughout the Big Apple or saw aircraft displays at various parks and schools.
“We’re excited to once again connect with people online in New York and around the world,” Rock said.
“No matter where you are, people will be able to find us on social media and watch whenever it is convenient for them so they can see how the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard safeguard our nation and how incredible the men and women who serve in uniform are.”
The schedule of events is still “under development,” but the events will be streamed on Fleet Week New York’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account, the Navy said.