Newport Beach’s annual Christmas Boat Parade canceled as coronavirus cases climb

A small boat with a big Santa moves along the route of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
A small boat with a big Santa moves along the route of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in 2019. This year’s event has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
(Don Leach / Times Community News)

Expect silent nights in Newport Harbor this holiday season.

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that this year’s 112th annual Christmas Boat Parade was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The parade was initially scheduled to be streamed Dec. 16-20 to viewers at home from Newport Harbor.

“It was our hope that conditions would improve or at least remain static. However, looking at what is happening across the country, as well as in our own backyard, that is simply not the case,” Steve Rosansky, the chief executive officer and president of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

“Gov. [Gavin] Newsom made it clear at his recent press conference that conditions are worsening across the state of California and that we need to put on the ‘emergency brake’ to slow the spread of coronavirus,” Rosansky said.

The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County, including cases, deaths, closures and restrictions.


On Wednesday, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 628 new cases and two new deaths related to COVID-19. The number of cases has now reached 66,585. Deaths are at 1,528. Area hospitals recorded 291 cases, and about 90 of those cases are in intensive care units. An estimated 57,094 have recovered to date.

State officials transitioned nearly 40 counties to more restrictive reopening tiers on Monday as cases and hospitalizations climbed in California. They included Orange County, which was returned to the most restrictive, or purple, tier.

The county previously was in the red tier, which allowed for the further reopening of some businesses.

“I know how much the tradition of the boat parade means to the chamber, the residents, business owners and visitors to the city,” Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill said in a statement. “Even so, the chamber is to be commended for their leadership and sacrifice. I look forward to a bigger and better celebration in 2021.”

Boat parade co-chair Larry Smith agreed: “The parade has a century-long tradition of being Newport Beach’s ‘Christmas Card to the World.’ This year, our message must clearly reflect the safety and well-being of all concerned.”

Nguyen writes for Times Community News.