BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Both St. Patrick’s weekend parades will not take place as previously scheduled, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced Thursday.
“This was a difficult decision for the organizers, but they made that decision keeping the health and safety of this community in mind and wanting to make sure that there was no opportunity for these two great events to spread coronavirus in Buffalo and Western New York,” said Brown, D-Buffalo.
Buffalo is renowned around the country as having one of the largest St. Patrick’s weekend celebrations, with two parades: The neighborhood parade on Saturday in the Old First Ward and the city’s official one down Delaware Avenue on Sunday.
The Delaware Avenue parade was outright canceled, while organizers of the “Old Neighborhood” parade vowed to march down South Park Avenue and Hamburg Street in September 2020.
In recent years, police estimated 50,000 people attended the OFW parade and Brown said the Delaware Avenue parade attracted some 100,000.
“We are here to protect the public’s health. That’s what this is about,” said County Executive Mark Poloncarz, D-Erie County. We do know that one of the greatest ways to reduce the impact of a viral strain is to eliminate community spread and there’s no worst thing that you can imagine, is to have tens of thousands or 100,000 people in the same vicinity where a virus could unfortunately go from person to person.
“Nobody wanted to do this. We know people are very disappointed, but we also have to remember that we’re doing this to protect the general public.”
Rochester and Albany, cities which confirmed positive cases on Thursday, canceled parades earlier in the day, following Wednesday parade cancellations in New York City, Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, among others.