Dallas' St. Patrick's Day parade and block party are being canceled amid concerns over the coronavirus, the mayor confirmed Wednesday.
The decision was made for the March 14 events one day after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Dallas County. Both cases -- a person aged in the 50s and another in the 70s -- had been in close contact with one another before testing positive, health officials said Tuesday.
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A third presumptive case was confirmed late Tuesday afternoon. That Irving resident in their 50's traveled to a large out of state recreational event and is not related to the first two cases.
Health officials said the three cases are not indicative of community spread of the virus but the St. Patrick's Day cancellations were made as a precaution anyway.
"An event of this scale, without adequate public health protections, cannot be allowed to occur at this time," Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a news release. "Our primary concern is the health, safety and welfare of our residents and we will continue to take action accordingly."
Johnson said the decision to cancel the parade and block party permits was made following conversations between health care workers and emergency officials.
"Canceling the St. Patrick's Day parade and block party was not an easy decision, but it is not the correct and responsible decision," Johnson said. "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."
The annual parade along a 2-mile stretch of Greenville Avenue drew more than 100,000 people last year.
The Greenville Avenue Area Business Association sponsors the parade. It's Board Chairman Kevin Vela said the group is disappointed, but resident health is more important.
"The Parade is a fantastic event and one of the most fun days of the year, but the purpose is much bigger. Every year, profits from the parade go toward scholarships for DISD seniors," Vela said.
The group is asking people to donate to a GoFundMe campaign instead.
This year's goal is raising $41,000 for what would have been the 41st annual parade. Past events raised up to $30,000.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit said its buses and trains would return to a normal schedule on Saturday after cancellation of the Greenville Avenue activities.
The move follows similar decisions by cities across the country. Chicago on Wednesday canceled its St. Patrick's Day parades and the iconic river dyeing.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott