The Chicago Pride parade has for the second year in a row been cancelled amid the rampaging coronavirus pandemic – and vaccine sceptics are partly to blame.
Organisers of the beloved Illinois festival, one of the nation’s oldest and largest, confirmed to GoPride.com that the parade will not be going ahead this year.
“We’re going to believe that in June 2022 we are living in a far safer world than now. We intend to have the best, most joyous, fabulous, memorable Pride parade ever,” said organiser Tim Frye.
The parade had been scheduled to take place in October after it was pushed back by four months. But due to the more aggressive Delta variant, organisers have now postponed it completely to 26 June 2022.
Chicago Pride organisers were ‘naive’ to think people would be vaccinated
The dispiriting announcement that’ll dash the plans of the some one million who attend comes amid a steady plateauing of coronavirus caseloads, according to data from the health department of the City of Chicago, where the daily average sits at 470.
More than three million vaccines have been administered by city health officials, with around seven in 10 Chicagoans above the age of 18 having received one shot.
But vaccine distribution has sharply dipped, the data shows, raising fears among health officials. In Chicago, 97 per cent of people who have been hospitalised with or died from COVID-19 since January were unvaccinated.
These concerns left Chicago Pride organisers uneasy about whether the large-scale event that runs through the Lakeview and Uptown neighbourhoods could be pulled off.
Chicago Pride on June 26, 1994 in Chicago, Illinois. (Stacia Timonere/Getty Images)
“With the advent of three effective vaccines, we felt that the late date would allow for most people to be vaccinated and, thus, make it much safer to have a parade,” Frye added. “Sadly, we were very naive in that belief.
“Everyone knows the reasons we were wrong in our estimate as to how safe things would be in the fall. Leave it at that.”
“To use the words of a song from the ’60s: ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’,” Frye continued.
“We really wanted and hoped that there could be a parade in 2021.
“We don’t feel, though, that we can do it safely for everyone in the parade and the people watching. We must cancel the parade for the second year.”
Still, Pride organisers said they are looking ahead to next year considering the parade in 2019 was cut short due to inclement weather.
“There is a saying,” Frye said, “‘Third Time’s A Charm’.”
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