PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been cancelled because of concerns over the coronavirus, the city announced Wednesday.
“The health of our residents and visitors to our city must be our main priority,” Mayor William Peduto said. “This mitigation measure will help keep people in Pittsburgh and Western Pa. safe.”
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Pittsburgh is now among cities including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dublin, Ireland, that have decided to cancel their parades. Pittsburgh’s was scheduled for Saturday.
City officials said they are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid mass gatherings and observe “social distancing.”
Parade organizers sent Channel 11 a statement saying they were disappointed in the decision:
“While we are disappointed to postpone our annual parade honoring Saint Patrick, we recognize that the health and safety of the Pittsburgh community is at the forefront of our decision.”
Director of Public Safety Wendell Hissrich also said the city will be sending letters to bars and restaurants asking owners to limit occupancy due to the coronavirus. Inspectors will be patrolling during the weekend checking how many people are in establishments, issuing fines as necessary and shutting facilities down if needed.
“It would be devastating. It’s a huge number for us for paying bills and getting through the summer,” said David Regan, owner of Harp and Fiddle.
While there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, there are more than a dozen in the state of Pennsylvania.
Officials said they plan to work with parade organizers to discuss alternative options to celebrate Pittsburgh’s Irish Community in the future.
The Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been around dating back to the mid-1800s. The parade took a brief hiatus from 1904 until 1950, but there has been a parade every year since then. Pittsburgh ranked fourth out of 200 U.S. cities in a report on the best places to celebrate the holiday, according to WalletHub.com.
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