Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced today that Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade will be delayed to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
The decision was made following guidance from public health experts, including the CDC. The St. Patrick’s Day parades and associated activities “present very unique circumstances for Chicago,” the mayor said. The parade draws over a million visitors, many from outside of the city.
Indeed, people from all over the world attend. And due to the nature of parades, attendees would have few opportunities to practice social distancing, which is a key recommendation of health experts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The city says that it “will continue working with organizers from Chicago’s downtown, South Side, and Northwest Side parades, as well as the annual Dyeing of the Chicago River to reschedule these events to a later date and ensure the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and visitors.”
In addition to Chicago, Boston has already canceled its planned St. Patrick’s Day parade for this weekend. New York City officials are considering delaying that city’s parade as well.
“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,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
“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,” the mayor added.
“We all know what the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations mean to us in the city of Chicago. But as elected leaders, we can’t take any chances with the health of our residents,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
For anyone celebrating St. Patrick Day this weekend, the city’s public health officials recommend practicing common-sense health safety tips and social distancing, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. At this time, no special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning are necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness.
Vulnerable populations – consisting of those 60 years or older or with underlying health conditions – may be more susceptible to COVID-19. The City encourages members of vulnerable populations and anyone who is sick to remain home and not attend large gatherings.
More information and updates on COVID-19 can be found on the IDPH website, the CDPH website, and the CDC website. You can also contact the Chicago Department of Public Health at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Chicago Edge.