Leeds Pride 2021 parade cancelled for second year due to Covid safety concerns
The annual Leeds Pride parade has been cancelled due to safety concerns around implementing Covid-19 measures.
The event, which celebrates the LGBT+ community here in Leeds and across Yorkshire, will no longer go ahead on August 1, 2021.
It is one of the biggest events in the country, attracting more than 50,000 each year, who come to watch the parade through the city centre and join in the celebrations.
Organisers said they are "incredibly disappointed" but it was "impossible" to create a Covid-safe parade.
It also said that due to roadworks in and around Lower Briggate, the area will be too small for them to accommodate the thousands of people who attend.
In a statement published on Friday, March 19, organisers said: "Leeds Pride over the last 15 years has become one of Yorkshire’s leading events for the LGBT+ community, committed to championing and celebrating the contribution of LGBT+ people in Leeds and beyond.
"Leeds Pride is one of our city’s most important events that attracts over 50,000 people each year who come to watch our parade of over 100 floats weave its way through the city centre.
"The parade has always been the priority for Leeds Pride as a visible presence of LGBT+ people and a recognition of the origins of the Pride movement.
"The government have set a target of 21st June to lift all restrictions that potentially could enable major events to go ahead.
"But this does depend on many things including the roll out of the vaccination programme, a continued reduction in the number of Covid infections and less pressure on the NHS."
The spokesperson added: "We have looked at the government guidance available and a further guidance on Covid Safe Events and a review on social distancing and mask wearing will not be available until late spring.
"Whilst other events and festivals have announced that they are still taking place, they are not free to attend events open to everyone.
"It is impossible for us to offer a Covid safe parade, where 10,000’s of people line the parade route through the city centre and a free entertainment offer open to all both in Millennium Square and on Lower Briggate.
"With roadworks in and around Lower Briggate and Meadow Lane carpark closed due to work starting on the city park, our footprint will be considerably reduced in the city centre and impossible to accommodate the footfall we normally get.
"Last year we were incredibly disappointed that Leeds Pride had to be cancelled due to coronavirus. But this year we still need to make sure that everyone who comes to Leeds Pride is kept safe and we do not put an additional burden on the NHS.
"This isn’t a decision we have taken lightly, but we are sorry to let everyone know that Leeds Pride parade and street entertainment planned for the 1st August 2021 will not be taking place this year.
"We will be working with partners and stakeholders over the coming weeks and months to announce their plans for the day (Sunday 1st August) and we will be supporting them in delivering smaller satellite events throughout the city over Pride week.
"We understand that many people will be disappointed with this announcement, but with the uncertainty around the relaxation of Covid regulations and what the new guidance will be, including Covid testing prior to attending events, we feel this decision is the best both for Leeds Pride and the wider community of Leeds."