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Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day Parade Canceled Due To Coronavirus

The 2019 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cleveland. [Erik Drost / Flickr]
The 2019 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cleveland.

Updated 3:46pm Wednesday March 11, 2020

The 2020 Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee and the city made the decision after parades were canceled in other U.S. cities, such as Chicago and Boston. Akron's St. Patrick's Day Parade also was canceled. 

The news came as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state’s fourth confirmed coronavirus case. The Stark County resident who tested positive had no known connection to anyone with the virus or a history of travel, signaling a case of community spread.

“There was no pressure, but you felt the gloom and doom coming when the other parades were canceling today, so it didn’t make sense that we would continue forward," said parade committee executive director Linda Carney. 

It is the first time in the parade's 177-year history that the parade was canceled outright. 

"It's been postponed for weather, but only for a short period of time," said former executive director Patrick Murphy. 

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (left) announces the city is canceling its annual St. Patrick's Day parade alongside the parade committee's former executive director Patrick Murphy (center) and executive director Linda Carney. [Anna Huntsman / ideastream]

The news comes a day after the United Irish Societies released a statement saying the March 17 parade would be held as planned.

“Everyone’s pretty disappointed, but it’s probably in the best interest of public health," Carney said.

Murphy said the parade usually has 10,000 participants and 400,000 spectators. Carney said the committee and city typically spend about $25,000 to $30,000 to put on the parade.

Restaurants, businesses and vendors that work with the parade have been notified, Murphy said.

"And they are disappointed as well, but everybody understands and everybody is working," he said. "Every vendor that I've talked to so far has been willing to work with us in regard to things or deposits we've made."

Mayor Frank Jackson said a new committee will assess upcoming city events and provide recommendations about whether to cancel them due to the coronavirus. 

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158