The mayor was not alone in her decision as New York City, Boston, Dallas, Dublin and other cities dropped their festivities for the holiday. According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Lightfoot made her decision after days of speculation. Also included in the decision were the South Side’s Irish Parade and even the smaller Northwestern Side Parade.
“This was not an easy decision and we don’t take it lightly,” Lightfoot said at a morning news conference with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other officials announcing the decision.
To say this was a difficult decision for the mayor is an understatement. The massive downtown parade brings in millions of dollars to Chicago hotels, restaurants and bards as people flood in to see the Chicago River dyed green.
According to the Chicago Tribune, local tourism industry is already reeling from the recent cancellations of several big trade shows at McCormick Place, and the St. Patrick’s Day events draw tens of thousands of spectators.
Governor Pritzker said he supported the decision as officials were trying to minimize the rampant spread of COVID-19.
“This is not a decision that she took lightly, and we all know what the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations mean to the city of Chicago,” Pritzker said. “Because of what we’ve seen nationally, and across the world, of the increased risk of large gatherings, this was the right call.”
Lightfoot said her administration has been in contact with organizers of the Shamrock Shuffle 8K race, set to take place on March 22 this year. “We haven’t made a determination one way or the other yet, but clearly that’s on our radar screen, and we’ll continue discussions with them,” she said.
As for bars and restaurants that fill with revelers in the lead-up to St. Patty’s Day, the mayor said she can’t close everything.
The city said in a press release that it will continue working with organizers to reschedule these events at a later date and ensure the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and visitors.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune