In the wake of coronavirus crisis, New York City postponed its St. Patrick's Day Parade which draws around 250,000 marchers and more than a million spectators to Manhattan. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Celebration Committee has agreed to postpone the 2020 St. Patrick's Day Parade which is traditionally held on March 17.
One of the largest recurring public events of New York has been postponed for the first time in 258 years after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus as a pandemic. New York state has confirmed 216 positive cases with only NYC reporting 52 cases of COVID-19.
“Today I had several conversations with the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade to determine whether the parade should move forward in light of the evolving coronavirus situation and increased case count in the New York City area,” said Governor Cuomo in a statement.
“Following those conversations, I recommended and the parade's leadership agreed to postpone this year's parade due to the high density and the large volume of marchers and spectators who attend,” he added.
Cuomo applauded the parade's leadership for working cooperatively saying it was not an easy decision for parade organisers. He pointed towards the recommendation of public health experts to highlight the importance of limiting large gatherings and close contacts to contain the spread of the virus.
“While the risk to New Yorkers remains low and we want to avoid social and economic disruptions, we have an obligation to take action to contain the spread of this virus,” said the Governor.
At a press briefing, Cuomo announced the New York State will give contracts to 28 private labs to increase the testing capacity for COVID-19. He also announced all the state workers under quarantine or isolation due to the pandemic will be guaranteed two full weeks of paid leave. The Governor has already declared a state of emergency in New York.