Bay Ridge locals are devastated to learn that their beloved Ragamuffin Parade is canceled, sending yet another blow to the borough as COVID-19’s Delta variant continues to wash over the city.
“With uncertainty around the spread of the Delta variant across the city, and out of an abundance of caution for kids under 12 and our community as a whole, the 2021 Bay Ridge Ragamuffin Parade has been canceled,” wrote Councilmember Justin Brannan in an Aug. 23 Facebook post.
The Third Avenue Festival is still scheduled to happen the following day, although organizers are monitoring the situation for further updates.
“The Merchants of Third Avenue and I will of course keep a close eye on the Delta variant and see where the numbers are at in the coming weeks to determine what is best of the health and well-being of our community,” Brannan added.
The Ragamuffin celebration was scheduled to return to the neighborhood on Oct. 2, with local shop owners hailing the comeback of the annual street fair.
“There are people that come from all over,” organizer Chip Cafiero told Brooklyn Paper in August. “It’s a great event that draws thousands of kids.”
Yet, as even vaccinated people have been subject to breakthrough infections of COVID-19, the parade organizers have decided to shutter the tradition yet again, following a 2020 where the neighborhood’s streets were barren due to the pandemic.
“This decision was made by the very dedicated Ragamuffin Parade Committee who work hard each year to organize the parade,” Brannan said. “To be clear, the parade was not ordered to be canceled by the city, the state, or anyone else. It was 100 percent their decision and I respect their decision.”
In the Five Boroughs, around 3.64 percent of COVID-19 tests have come back positive during the seven-day average ending on Aug. 21. That number is reminiscent of the height of the pandemic, although some argue that the numbers may be skewed as less non-positive patients are seeking tests after receiving the vaccine.
Yet still, the city has seen a seven-day average of 1,688 new cases — including both confirmed and probable cases — which was enough to shut down the parades, where organizers had no way of enforcing vaccine mandates.
“This is sad news but I do think with the information we have right now it’s a good decision,” wrote one social media user. “I’m glad they didn’t wait until the last minute to make it too.”
The cancelation comes amid a series of measures the city has taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Starting on Sept. 13, the city will mandate that indoor venues — such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and museums — will require patrons to show proof of vaccination.
On Monday morning, just as the CDC officially backed a plan to offer third-dose “booster shots” to people who had received the Pfizer vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that public school teachers and staff would be required to be vaccinated with at least one dose by Sept. 27.