As the state was reporting its fourth and fifth cases of the coronavirus, soon after the governor declared a state of emergency, and while cities and towns across the country were canceling or postponing large celebrations, the Newport City Council voted 4 to 3 tonight (Monday) to go on with its St. Patrick’s Day Parade, just hours after the Rhode Island Department of Health advised against it.
The council voted at a emergency meeting, held after it was widely reported last night (Monday) that a top city official was reporting that the parade would be canceled.
In a statement reported in GoLocalProv, a Rhode Island Department of Health spokesman said that in response for a request for guidance from the parade planning committee that the department recommended “postponement or cancelation of the parade. Because COVID-19 spreads between people in close contact with one another (within roughly 6 feet), canceling or postponing large events can help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Rhode Island.”
The Newport decision comes after cities and towns from Northern Ireland to California have canceled or postponed St. Patrick’s Day parades in consideration of the health of potential attendees.
The Newport parade attracts some 50,000 people.
Meanwhile, several communities canceled or postponed parades. Among them, Boston, a parade that attracts a million people, and Denver, which attracts 250,000. In Ireland, Dublin, Cork and Belfast were among cities canceling or postponing St. Patrick’s Day parades.
In Massachusetts, besides Boston, the cities of Worcester, Lawrence and Holyoke canceled or postponed parades. In Connecticut, communities canceling, or postponing includes Hartford, New Haven, Danbury, New London, and Norwalk.
Springfield, Mo. and Yonkers, NY were among other communities canceling or postponing parades.
New York City canceled its half marathon, although as of this writing its parade was still on.
Bryant University has postponed its Women’s Summit 2020 from March 13 to June 10. Grow Smart RI postponed its prestigious Power of Place Summit from March 27 to a date in June that has yet to be determined. Roger Williams University has told students not to return to campus and is exploring remote (online) classes.
At Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, the highly respected acting company, its Artistic Director Curt Columbus and Executive Director Tom Parrish, sent a message with a list of steps the theater is taking to protect theater goers and staff. It said that all performances, events and classes were still on, but set out a series of activities, ranging from disinfecting seats and armrests between every show to not using recycled program books for at least 72 hours.
Trinity is also waiving ticket exchange fees for anyone wishing to exchange tickets to a later performance, or a future production in the 2019-2020 season.