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A float from the Krewe of Rex parade is seen on Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana March 4, 2014. Jonathan Bachman/REUTERS

New Orleans cancels Mardi Gras parades for virus

NEW ORLEANS — The raucous Mardi Gras parades where riders on elaborate floats toss trinkets to adoring throngs have been canceled in New Orleans because the close-packed crowds could spread the coronavirus.

At least for the 2021 season, the pandemic has put an end to the New Orleans Mardi Gras as it has long been celebrated. City spokesman Beau Tidwell said Tuesday that no parades will roll during the weeks leading up to and including Fat Tuesday because they can’t meet restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The cancellation is based largely on a 250-person cap on outdoor crowds. Tidwell says: “You can’t have traditional parades with that small a group.”

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