PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (NewsNation Now) — Punxsutawney Phil will still make his 2021 debut, but fans will have to just watch online next year due to the pandemic.
There will be a live stream and media broadcasts of the ceremony, but no in-person attendance or guests on the grounds because of potential COVID-19 risks.
“We have been in contact with health officials and those providing guidance,” Jeffrey Lundy, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club told NewsNation affiliate WTAJ. “The health and safety of our faithful followers and everyone associated with Phil’s prognostication has been our number one priority.”
Groundhog Day joins Mardi Gras this week in having to pivot the traditions associated with the iconic celebrations for 2021. No parades will be allowed to celebrate the carnival season in New Orleans.
In February, over 20,000 people attended the 134th Groundhog Day.
Traditionally, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter are predicted. If the famed groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, the ritual predicts an early spring.
“The guests who come to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney each February from around the world are a key component to making Groundhog Day so special. We look forward to the day when we can welcome back all our guests and faithful followers, hopefully in February of 2022,” Lundy added.
Information on the virtual events will be listed on their website.