Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled because of corona virus

Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade canceled because pf corona virus
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Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled because of corona virus 

Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parades and the city’s iconic river dyeing have been postponed amid coronavirus concerns, city officials announced Wednesday.

The downtown Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was set for Saturday, as well as Sunday’s South Side Irish Parade and the Northwest Side parades will not step off as a coronavirus outbreak continues to bring more cases in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. The annual dyeing of the Chicago River will also be rescheduled “to a later date,” city officials said.

“The health and safety of Chicago’s residents will always be our highest priority and like many other cities across the nation and globe, we are postponing this year’s parades as a precautionary measure to prevent any additional spread of COVID-19,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “I want everyone to rest assured that your City and State continue to work around the clock to stay ahead of this issue and ensure everyone remains protected, informed, and safe.”

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Lightfoot said during a press conference Wednesday morning that rescheduling the events “was not an easy decision” but having the festivities would “pose unnecessary risk.”

The local tourism industry is already reeling from the recent cancellations of several big trade shows at McCormick Place, and the St. Patrick’s Day events draw tens of thousands of spectators.

Though the parades are the largest, highest profile public March events in the city, residents are constantly in proximity to one another, and that will continue. Lightfoot’s remarks Wednesday made it clear curtailing such contact would be extremely tough.

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Lightfoot said her administration has been in contact with organizers of the Shamrock Shuffle 8K race, set to take place on March 22 this year. “We haven’t made a determination one way or the other yet, but clearly that’s on our radar screen, and we’ll continue discussions with them,” she said.

As for bars and restaurants that fill with revelers in the lead-up to St. Patrick’s Day, the mayor said she can’t close everything.

“Look, the reality is, we’re not shutting down the entire city and state, but we want people to be smart and exercise common sense,” Lightfoot said.

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