ATLANTA - Organizers have canceled the 2020 Atlanta St. Patrick's Parade due to growing concerns over the coronavirus.
The parade and festival were scheduled for Saturday, March 14 in Midtown. In a statement to FOX 5, Jessica Houghton, president of Irish Network Atlanta, said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution."
"The health and safety of our participants, volunteers and attendees are of the utmost importance to us and we felt this was the only responsible action we could have taken. We hope this mitigation measure will help keep metro Atlanta residents safe," Houghton said.
Participants in this year’s parade were to include several Irish dance companies (including those from the Drake School of Irish Dance), traditional pipes and drums bands, and even the much-loved Twilight Twirlers, a troupe of majorettes made up of local women over the age of 45.
This is the second parade in the State of Georgia to alter St. Patrick's Day plans. The Tourism Leadership Council opted to postpone the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah.
Savannah and Atlanta join the growing list of cities canceling or postponing parades over COVID-19 fears. Chicago, which holds one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country, announced it would be canceling the event.
In the United States, there are now more than 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus. As of Wednesday afternoon, Georgia had 16 confirmed cases.
Expressing alarm both about mounting infections and slow government responses, the World Health Organization declared Wednesday that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic but also said it's not too late for countries to act.
The virus has now infected more than 120,000 people around the world and killed more than 4,300.
In response to the growing concerns, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced that NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will be played without fans in the arenas over concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.