NORFOLK, Va. - The Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Norfolk and the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach will be canceled out of an "abundance of caution" regarding the novel coronavirus, according to city officials and parade organizers.
Parade organizers said in a statement Thursday that based on Governor Ralph Northam's Thursday remarks, the parade will be canceled. Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia after 17 Virginians, 15 within and two out of the state, tested positive for the virus.
The City of Norfolk is asking that residents who have placed tents or parked along the parade route to remove them as soon as possible.
The organizers of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend also said the March 22 event would be canceled "due to the rapidly developing situation involving the coronavirus."
R&A Racing, the organizer of the event, has been involved with the race for the last 25 years and says this is "uncharted territory" for them.
Around 25,000 participants registered to run next weekend, many of whom would have been traveling from out of town.
Organizers say runners will not be refunded. Instead, they can defer their registration for next year's race for a fee.
Four people have tested positive for coronavirus in Eastern Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
"This was not an easy decision, but ultimately we have to take into consideration the uncertainty around COVID-19 and its impact on our residents," the City of Norfolk said.
Additionally, all City of Norfolk facilities - including recreational centers, libraries, the MacArthur Memorial, Nauticus and the Virginia Zoo - will close to the public starting Monday, March 16 until Monday, March 30. This includes DMV Select, the Commissioner of the Revenue and the Treasurer's Office located in City Hall.