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Syracuse, Utica cancel St. Patrick’s parades over coronavirus concerns

In this photo taken March 4, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon addresses reporters about the local coronavirus situation. On Thursday, McMahon announced that Syracuse’s annual St. Patrick’s Parade, which was set for Saturday, has been postponed over concerns about the virus. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

Officials in Syracuse and Utica announced cancellations of their St. Patrick’s parades over concerns about the coronavirus.

Both parades were scheduled for this Saturday, March 14.

“Looking at all the data, I spoke with [Syracuse] Mayor [Ben] Walsh and we talked over the situation with the St. Patrick’s Parade … the various concerns, the pros and the cons [of having] it … We consulted with the St. Patrick’s Parade committee,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said in addressing reporters this morning.


Onondaga County still has no cases of the coronavirus but does have 21 county residents that are under quarantine, according to McMahon.

He also noted that Monroe County has a confirmed coronavirus case, and Albany County has two new cases. The Albany and Rochester St. Patrick’s parades were also canceled by officials in those cities. Parades across the state and the nation have met the same fate.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. and Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri on Thursday issued a joint statement about the Utica postponement.

“Based on the most updated information, and after consulting with public safety professionals, the City of Utica is postponing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was scheduled for this Saturday … until further notice,” they wrote.

McMahon went on to say that officials use a “data-driven” approach to decision making in these situations. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta meets with McMahon every morning to provide an update on information her department has gathered regarding the coronavirus situation.

“Over the last … 12 hours, there’s been a change on the data and a couple different things have happened,” McMahon said, referring to the cases in Monroe and Albany counties.

McMahon began his remarks with comments addressing the business community, saying county officials have been encouraging local business owners to focus on the “continuity of operations.”

“Looking [at] and assessing your technologies to see if made sense for employees to work from home. In cases, we want to continue to encourage our businesses to do that,” said McMahon.

The county executive also encouraged area residents to support local businesses. “Utilize your buying power to help our local economy, going to restaurants, buying from restaurants and continue to invest locally here,” said McMahon.

Contact Reinhardt at


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