The West Indian Day Parade and J’ouvert — the end of summer Caribbean emancipation celebration — will be canceled for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio and community leaders said Monday.
Yvette Rennie, president of J’ouvert City International, explained that she opted not to hold the costumed, pre-dawn on Labor Day central Brooklyn jamboree this year to avoid potentially contributing to the spread of the coronavirus in the five boroughs.
“The cons have overweight the pros,” she said during the mayor’s daily press briefing.
“We look at the bigger picture of the health and safety of our people,” Rennie added. “We are saddened that we are going to cancel another year.”
Rennie promised the annual Labor Day weekend event will return to its festive grandeur next year.
“We know our culture is alive,” she said. “We will be coming back bigger and better in 2022.”
“Of course, the J’ouvert celebration will come back in 2022,” agreed de Blasio. “But this year, the focus on health and safety is the focus of moving New York City out of the coronavirus once and for all.”
“People can celebrate, but also keep it safe,” he added. “If we keep it safe this year, we can have a big beautiful celebration next year.”
Michelle Gibbs-Francis, chairwoman of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, lamented that her group’s traditional festivity will have to wait another year.
“Unfortunately, our parade on Eastern Parkway is canceled,” she said.
In lieu of holding “one of the most beloved” gatherings in the Big Apple in person, there will be a three-day festival of virtual and small in-person celebrations from Sept. 2 through 5, de Blasio announced.
“It is a smart approach, it is a healthy approach,” he said. “This is never people for people to postpone a cherished tradition, but it’s the right thing to do.”
“It’s going to be a different kind of Carnival,” said Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, who represents the neighborhood where the parade is held. “We’re got to make sure that we do this the right way and that we do it safely.”
The celebration changes comes after last week Coney Island USA for the second consecutive year canceled its annual Mermaid Parade because of the COVID-19 pandemic.