New York City will not have a St. Patrick's Day Parade due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
Parade organizers denied earlier. Wednesday afternoon that any final ruling had been made on the event, which has been held every year since 1762. It is the largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the world, drawing between 1 million and 2 million spectators and about 250,000 participants over its typical five-hour duration.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference early Wednesday that he planned to cancel the parade. City officials were reluctant to pull the plug.
Wednesday night the governor said in a statement that due to the event's "high density and the large volume of marchers and spectators" the parade organizers agreed to postpone it.
"While I know the parade organizers did not make this decision lightly, public health experts agree that one of the most effective ways to contain the spread of the virus is to limit large gatherings and close contacts, and I applaud the parade's leadership for working cooperatively with us," Cuomo said. "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."
It's unclear whether the parade will be rescheduled, given the lack of clarity regarding the pandemic.
The parade is one of several large-scale events to be called off due to COVID-19 concerns.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday night that he was suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days to keep new COVID-19 cases from "entering our shores."
The NBA later added that it was putting its season on hiatus after all-star Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus shortly before a game that evening. Gobert was not at the arena that night and did not take part in drills earlier in the day.
Wednesday morning, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
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