The much-anticipated Pearl River St. Patrick's Day Parade, the second largest in the state that draws thousands of visitors, has been canceled due to the outbreak of the novel strain of the coronavirus.
Hosted for the past 58 years in Pearl River by the Rockland County Ancient Order of the Hibernians, the decision to cancel the parade, scheduled for Sunday, March 22, was not made lightly, the AOH, said in a statement.
"This has not been an easy decision, but the health and safety of the community must always be the overriding priority," the AOH said. "However, the impact of canceling the parade should not be trivialized. Our first thoughts are to our well-deserving honorees who, after years of quiet service were getting the public recognition they so justly deserved."
This year’s parade was dedicated to Thomas and Danial Foley, brothers who grew up in Rockland and were killed during 9/11. Tommy on the day and Dan who died on Feb. 22, due to 9/11 related cancer contracted while searching for his brother’s body.
The order is also concerned about the economic impact on the community and the small businesses that depend on the parade.
"We are concerned about the economic impact on our community; for many small businesses, parade day is analogous to “Black Friday” and sustains them through leaner times throughout the year," the Order said.
In addition, many non-profits organizations, such as traditional musicians, pipe bands, and Irish dance schools rely on funds raised at St. Patrick’s Day performances to help them keep the tradition alive.
New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade has also been postponed.
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