Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled because of coronavirus

 In this file photo, retired Philadelphia police Sgt. Chuck Warren struts down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia dressed as a leprechaun for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. (Jim Graham/AP Photo, file)

In this file photo, retired Philadelphia police Sgt. Chuck Warren struts down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia dressed as a leprechaun for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. (Jim Graham/AP Photo, file)

Philadelphia’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been canceled, amid concerns about the novel coronavirus.

Organizers said in a statement late Tuesday night that the decision to call off the parade, which was supposed to step off on Sunday, and all other related events came “after heartfelt consideration and serious conversation with officials from the City of Philadelphia.”

“This decision was made with significant input from civic and parade participants,” the statement reads. “While this decision is disappointing, we acted with a general concern for the well-being of everyone.”

The parade’s former longtime director and this year’s current grand marshal, Michael J. Bradley Jr., vowed on Monday to continue as scheduled, referring to the parade’s website, which lists two rules: “Rule 1: THE PARADE IS ON EVERY YEAR, LIQUID SUNSHINE OR SHINE ! IT DOES NOT GET CANCELLED. Rule 2: If we have confused you, see Rule 1.”

Then on Tuesday, Philadelphia officials announced the city’s first patient to test positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. City leaders recommended that people not attend events with more than 5,000 people, including Sunday’s parade, urging them instead to watch it on television. The decision to cancel came hours later.

Parade organizers said that in the coming days, they will gather to plan what would have been the city’s 250th St. Patrick’s Day celebration for March 14, 2021.

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