Chicago postpones St. Patrick’s Day events amid coronavirus outbreak

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CHICAGO (Gray News) – The mayor of Chicago announced the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parades and events will be postponed as the spread of the coronavirus continues.

Spectators look on during the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March 15, 2014. The city announced the decision to postpone the 2020 parade due to concerns over the coronavirus. (Source: Paul Beatty/AP)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a press conference on Wednesday  the city’s downtown parade which was to be held on Saturday, is postponed, along with other parades that were held throughout the city.

The city’s famous “river dyeing” event, a tradition where the Chicago River is dyed green, was also postponed.

“As you may imagine, this was not an easy decision and we don’t take it lightly,” Lightfoot said. “Nonetheless, like cities across the nation, we concluded that having a parade at this time poses an unnecessary risk to the public’s health.”

She reported the city had worked with the event’s organizer to determine the best course of action. Lightfoot said the parade attracts thousands of people from all over the country and would not allow for “social distancing”  as the CDC recommends.

“This is a key part of calculations we have considered in this decision to postpone these events,” Lightfoot said.

During the press conference, Lightfoot said the city is working with parade officials in order to reschedule the event.

Chicago’s downtown parade is considered one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the U.S. and has been a tradition in the city for the last 65 years.

There have been  19 reported cases of the coronavirus in Illinois as of Tuesday. Public officials reported a majority of the cases are in Chicago and its surrounding area.

Cleveland also announced the cancellation of their St. Patrick’s Day parade on Wednesday,  according to WOIO. Other cities, such as Boston and Dublin, Ireland, have also made the decision to cancel St. Patrick’s Day celebrations during the outbreak.

New York City’s parade is still on for Tuesday,   according to the event’s site.

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