UPDATE: Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day festival and parade canceled

Even as Georgia’s coronavirus case count mounts, these events and more are scheduled here in the coming month. Local and state officials are trying to figure out what to do.

Atlanta will also cancel its parade

Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade “will not go on as planned” due to the threat of coronavirus, Mayor Van Johnson said during a press conference Wednesday. Atlanta’s parade, one of the oldest in the country, has also been canceled.

The festival was slated to attract hundreds of thousands to the Coastal Empire this weekend with the parade set for Tuesday morning, but Johnson, festival officials and city’s council have opted to cancel the events with no word on if it festival or parade will be rescheduled. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization deemed the rapidly emerging virus as a global pandemic.

Explore»MORE: Coronavirus rise in Georgia doesn’t halt massive public events

“People are really feeling this is a significant health challenge. Savannah is OK right now. We just want to make sure Savannah remains OK. Savannah is open for business. People are here. We are going to treat them well, but we just could not have the huge public gatherings. We could not have the large festivities. We could not have a large parade. We just could not do it,” Mayor Johnson said.

#WATCH: Savannah Mayor Van Johnson is giving an update regarding the status of the St. Patrick's Day parade and festival.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Concerns about the growing threat of the coronavirus has led to the cancellation of parades in Chicago and Boston. Internationally, the signature celebrations in Dublin and throughout Ireland were canceled Monday.

Savannah's celebration is one of largest in the country. According to reports, the parade has not been called off since World War II.

Jessica Houghton, president of the Irish Network Atlanta, also released a statement Wednesday confirming that Atlanta would not hold its parade Saturday.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade is cancelling this year’s event due to the growing concerns about the COVID – 19 virus. The health and safety of our participants, volunteers and attendees are of the utmost importance to us and we felt this was the only responsible action we could have taken. We hope this mitigation measure will help keep metro Atlanta residents safe.” Jessica Houghton, President, Irish Network Atlanta

Concerns about the coronavirus have resulted in the cancellation of many events and large gatherings. The AJC will monitor these announcements and keep you informed about any postponements, rescheduling and cancellations, but it’s best to check with venues or event organizers before making plans to attend. To get the latest on the coronavirus, download the AJC news app.

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