DES MOINES, Iowa — The organizers of Des Moines’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade have changed course and canceled the parade due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Central Iowa, the group organizing the annual parade, released a statement on the decision.
“This morning the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick decided to cancel the parade. In coordination with the City of Des Moines and after consideration of all factors, the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be postponed until a later date can be determined.”
This comes as Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie declared a state of emergency on Sunday in response to the spread of COVID-19. It prohibits “all gatherings of 250 people or more on public property or right-of-way.”
The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick says they were prepared to cancel the parade, as concerns over the virus continued to grow. They say Gov. Kim Reynolds’ announcement Saturday that there is now community spread of the virus in Iowa pushed them to finally make the decision.
Reynolds said measures must be implemented immediately to try and slow down the spread of the virus, including not holding or attending gatherings of more than 250 people.
The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick will determine if there is an appropriate date in the future to hold the parade, or if it will be canceled altogether in 2020.