Reports indicate that the Montreal Saint Patrick's Day Parade is postponed to a later date. The parade, which was supposed to take place on March 22, 2020, is one of the oldest and longest-running events in Montreal and is actually the oldest parade of its kind in the world. Earlier this week, the United Irish Societies of Montreal said that there "are no immediate plans to cancel the parade."
In a statement, the UIS writes that "with today's press conference held by the Premier and in collaboration with the City of Montreal we have both deemed it in the best interests of health and safety, Parade participants, and the general public to postpone Montreal's 197th St Patrick's Parade."
"Montreal's St Patrick's Parade has been held consecutively since 1824 and the United Irish Societies have had the honour of hosting it since 1929. There is a responsibility to our members, our community and our history and ensure the continuity of this event and we take this responsibility very seriously."
Premier François Legault said Thursday that all Quebecers should be on "alert" against the possible spread of the virus. While the risk of contracting is still low, the Ministry of Health and Social Services is recommending the cancellation of indoor events of more than 250 people.
It's unclear what effect the ban will have on upcoming Montreal festivals like Metro Metro.
Meanwhile, in Montreal, Mayor Valérie Plante has asked the city's population to not fall into a state of panic. She also said that "coronavirus is no excuse for discrimination and inappropriate gestures."
Her statements came after a series of incidents of vandalism in Chinatown and at Buddhist temples in Montreal.
Last month, employees at a temple in Côte-des-Neiges woke up to find statues in the front yard defaced by a sledgehammer.