By CBSLA Staff

NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Wednesday announced that it would be canceling the 112th annual Christmas Boat Parade due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

FILE: An “Elf”-themed entry floats past the Balboa Bay Club during the 2017 Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

“We realize this decision has impacts on many levels for our sponsors, businesses, residents, visitors to our community and especially our dedicated boat owners and home participants,” the chamber said in a statement. “It is one of the most cherished traditions in Newport Beach, relying upon hundreds of donated volunteer hours and expertise and has become a signature event in Southern California.”

The chamber said the decision was not made lightly — and though many will be disappointed — but was made in conjunction with city officials, health professionals and parade committee members.

“I know how much the tradition of the Boat Parade means to the chamber, the residents, business owners, and visitors to the city,” 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.”

The chamber said it had hoped to be able to hold the event if pandemic conditions improved prior to the event, but the current surge made it clear that would not be the case.

“It was our hope that conditions would improve or at least remain static,” Steven Rosansky, chamber president and CEO, said. “However, looking at what is happening across the country, as well as in our own backyard, that is simply not the case. Governor 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.”

Sister event, The Rings of Light, will still go forward with homeowners around the harbor decorating their homes for the annual contest. Winners of that contest will be announced Dec. 15.

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