The Boston parade was the first major U.S. march to be cancelled
By Irish Echo Staff
Two major parades in the New York area have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
One of them, in Yonkers, has been reschedule to September.
In a statement Tuesday the executive board of the Yonkers parade stated: “It is with an abundance of caution and care for our community, and as a result of medical advice in the midst of this health crisis that we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Yonkers St Patrick’s Day Parade from March 21st to Sept 19th, the halfway to St. Patrick’s day point.
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“The mass will be celebrated on Sept 19th before the parade. Our first commitment is to the safety of both our marchers and our spectators and we look forward to celebrating this great parade six months from now. We will hold the parade dinner on Saturday Sept 12th instead of this Saturday March 14th.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for us and we ask that you look forward to September and stay safe and well.
Separately, a statement from the City of White Plains and the White Plains St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee said: “Saturday’s (March 14) St. Patrick’s Day Parade in White Plains will not go forward.
“The White Plains St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee will be meeting in the days ahead to discuss a future celebration.
“This decision was not reached easily and came after discussions with medical experts, state, county, and public safety officials. We recognize that people will be disappointed by this decision (as are we), but our main focus is and must be the health, welfare, and safety of our residents, parade participants and attendees. After extensive review and consultation, we believe this is the prudent course. Thank you for your understanding.”
A number of parades have been cancelled in recent days – all of them in Ireland. The Boston parade was also cancelled and both Chicago and Pittsburgh announced cancellations of their parade today. Some parades in major U.S. cities are still scheduled to take place, but all have question marks hanging over them.
In a statement the Pittsburgh parade organizing committee said: “Due to rising concerns about COVID-19, a disease caused by a new strain of the coronavirus, the City of Pittsburgh, on advisement of the federal government and following the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control to limit ‘mass gatherings’ has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Pittsburgh St.
Patrick’s Day Parade.
“The Irish Society for Education and Charity, Inc., and the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee are disappointed but are in support of the decision to postpone the parade for the
Time-being, out of concern for public safety.
“While we are disappointed to postpone our annual parade honoring St. Patrick, we recognize that the health and safety of the Pittsburgh community is at the forefront of our decision. We are proud to be Irish every day of the year, not just in March, and will work with the City to determine a plan of action for a future date in which we can continue our celebrations. “
“The Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee is working diligently to determine a plan for future events to honor St. Patrick in the city of Pittsburgh and will communicate these plans as needed.”
In New York, as of midday Wednesday, the big parade on March 17 was still a go, though reports indicate consideration of the parade’s fate at the highest level of New York state government.
According to a report in Newsday, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday morning said the state was considering canceling the New York City parade after Boston did so as part of continued precautions against spread of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
“That’s one of the things we’re looking at,” Cuomo told CNN.
But New York Bill de Blasio on Monday stated: “We do not have a plan to cancel the parade at this point.”
On Tuesday, CBS reported: The mayor says, as of now, the city has no plans to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade next Tuesday.” By today, however, it was being reported that de Blasio has “real concerns” about holding the parade.
The parade website, by Tuesday, had posted a “COVID-19 Virus note” on its website.
It stated in part: “We have received no notice from the authorities about postponement at this point. We recommend checking with your local health officials, government, and where appropriate, your personal physician for guidance.
“Please see link to CDC and NY State Government below and take special note for those most at risk. We need to work together as a community to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
So at noon on Wednesday the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade is still set to step off as planned at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, March 17 at 11 a.m. with Grand Marshal James T. Callahan in the lead.
For any and all updates readers can check the parade website http://www.nycstpatricksparade.org.
The Echo will report any and all developments online here at www.irishecho.com.