DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade down Greenville Avenue set for Saturday has been cancelled over concerns about the coronavirus.
The event attracts 125,000 people each year.
The decision was made after Dallas County Health and Human Services and the City of Dallas conducted a thorough review of the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade and block party, the city said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.
Following that review, the City of Dallas Convention and Event Services cancelled the special event permits for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and block party.
“Canceling the St. Patrick’s Day parade and block party was not an easy decision, but it is the correct and responsible decision,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “While our region still has only a few ‘presumptive positive’ COVID-19 cases that appear to be related to travel, we are actively making contingency plans for the spread of this illness. Before we made the final decision, I gathered input from our healthcare leaders and our public health partners, discussed the ramifications for our police and firefighters at the parade; met with Governor Abbott; and reviewed how COVID-19 has spread in other parts of the country and the world.”
Bars and restaurants along Lower Greenville had been putting up signs all day Wednesday to welcome the St. Patrick’s Day weekend crowd.
That annual weekend business alone can make up 20% or more of the annual revenue some of these bars take in.
But the mass gathering was considered two much of a risk, especially with the first diagnosed human cases of the virus just announced this week in Dallas County.
“It’s one of the best days of the year in Dallas, however we certainly understand,” said Kevin Vela of the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association. “We’ve been in touch with the city for over a week now we’ve been talking them daily. This was a decision that was made in conjunction with the city and ultimately for the safety and health concerns of our Dallas citizens.”
Every year, profits from the parade go toward scholarships for Dallas ISD seniors.
“Since we won’t have a parade this year, we are asking our great community to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign, so that we can continue the great tradition of awarding scholarships to deserving Dallas high school seniors. Our goal this year is to raise $41,000 in honor of what would have been our 41st parade,” Vela said.
Each year, GAABA awards between $10,000 and $30,000 to select DISD graduating seniors at Conrad, Wilson, and North Dallas High Schools.
GAABA asks those who would have attended the parade to also please consider a scholarship donation by texting STPAT to phone number 22525.
“An event of this scale, without adequate public health protections, cannot be allowed to occur at this time. Our primary concern is the health, safety, and welfare of our residents, and we will continue to take action accordingly,” Mayor Johnson added.
Additional mass public gatherings will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, the city said.