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Newport Beach cancels 112th annual Christmas Boat Parade in light of COVID-19

A small boat with a big Santa theme, moves along the route.
A small boat with a big Santa theme moves along the route during the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in 2019.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

There will be silent nights in Newport Harbor this December.

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

“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,” Steven 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.

State officials placed Orange County back into its bottom-most, purple tier as coronavirus cases spike throughout California. About 94% of Californians now live in the strictest tier.

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

A very colorful pleasure cruiser moves along the route during the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
A colorful pleasure cruiser moves along the route during the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in 2019.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

State officials transitioned nearly 40 counties backward to more restrictive reopening tiers on Monday as cases and hospitalizations climb in California. That included Orange County, which effective immediately, was returned to the purple, “widespread” tier.

The county previously was in the red, “substantial” tier.

“I know how much the tradition of the Boat Parade means to the chamber, the residents, business owners, and visitors to the city,” said Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill 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.”

The Costa Mesa center offered its open-air Pavilion for a showcase of holiday trees decorated by area arts organizations. An online auction turns bids for trees into donations for each group.

“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,” parade co-chair Larry Smith said. “To all our partners, participants and supporters of this rich holiday tradition, we hope you will agree.”

Though the parade will not go on, the chamber said that the Ring of Lights will still be happening. Homeowners around the harbor who decorate their homes that enter will still be judged and be eligible to win in a number of categories. Interested parties can visit christmasboatparade.com to enter.

Winners will be announced on Dec. 15.

A large vessel decked out in a Christmas circus theme, moves along the route.
A large vessel decked out in a Christmas circus theme, moves along the route during the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in 2019.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Here are the latest cumulative coronavirus case counts and COVID-19 deaths for select cities in Orange County:

  • Santa Ana: 12,703 cases; 322 deaths
  • Anaheim: 11,360 cases; 331 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 2,913 cases; 86 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 2,266 cases; 45 deaths
  • Irvine: 2,237 cases; 14 deaths
  • Newport Beach: 1,359 cases; 26 deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 680 cases; 21 deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 278 cases; fewer than five deaths

Here are the case counts by age group, followed by deaths:

  • 0 to 17: 5,139 cases; one death
  • 18 to 24: 9,911 cases; four deaths
  • 25 to 34: 14,264 cases; 21 deaths
  • 35 to 44: 10,593 cases; 40 deaths
  • 45 to 54: 10,717 cases; 119 deaths
  • 55 to 64: 8,024 cases; 212 deaths
  • 65 to 74: 4,054 cases; 302 deaths
  • 75 to 84: 2,168 cases; 331 deaths
  • 85 and older: 1,668 cases; 498 deaths

Updated figures are posted daily at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. For information on getting tested, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing.

The Crystal Cove Conservancy announced this week that what would have been the 24th annual tree lighting and holiday bazaar has been canceled.

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