- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A popular waterfront festival in Tampa has been postponed amid a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Florida.

The annual parade Gasparilla Pirate Fest that attracts about 200,000 people to Tampa’s downtown waterfront is typically held every January but is now planned for mid-April amid continuing health care concerns.

Organizers said they consulted with city leaders and health care providers and decided to postpone the festival until next spring to restrict events that attract large crowds.

On Monday, there were 3,748 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Florida, up from the 3,618 who were hospitalized on Sunday. Health officials reported 6,331 new confirmed cases and 96 new deaths in the state, raising Florida’s coronavirus death toll to 18,310.

Officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are pleading with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

The Miami Herald said Miami Beach hotels are experiencing last-minute bookings for the holiday week that may get them near full occupancy for the first time since they were forced to shut down to curb the spread of coronavirus in March.

Other events in the state that attract large crowds in the winter such as Art Basel have already been scrapped. The prestigious December art fair draws collectors, socialites and celebrities from around the world.

In February, Tampa will host the Super Bowl at the Raymond James Stadium, where a limited number of fans have been allowed for the games played so far this season.

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