Walsh Announces St. Patrick’s Day Parade Cancelled, Plans to Hold Boston Marathon Unaffected

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, BC ’09, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the recent outbreak of coronavirus has not affected plans to hold the Boston Marathon in late April, although he noted multiple times that the situation remains “fluid.”

He also said that there are currently 89 presumptive cases of coronavirus and six cases confirmed by the CDC in Boston.

The marathon is currently set to take place on April 20. As in past years, there are no classes scheduled on the day of the marathon, which runs past campus through Commonwealth Ave. 

Walsh said should the need arise, he would prefer to postpone the marathon due to the economic impact of a cancellation. Boston-area businesses would lose up to $211 million without the marathon, Walsh said. He also noted that runners had raised over $36 million for charities to compete in the marathon.

“The bottom line is that my job is mayor, and our job as leaders, is to make sure that people are safe,” Walsh said. “We’re always going to err on the side of caution.”

There is no deadline in place for a final decision about the marathon, Walsh said.

“If there’s a decision on the marathon, obviously we have to work with eight other cities and towns and we have to have conversations around that,” Walsh said. 

The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the marathon, said in a statement Monday that the organization was working closely with city and state officials and following updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the World Health Organization.

Walsh announced Monday that the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was slated for Sunday, would be canceled. He said that the decision was made out of “an abundance of caution.”  

At his press conference, he asked that business owners that are unhappy about the parade’s cancellation realize the public safety concerns at play.

“You can’t complain about this,” he said. “It’s about public safety. It’s about protecting [business] patrons. … If someone’s complaining about it, [they’re] being irresponsible as an owner.”

Walsh’s update came just hours before Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency at his own press conference. He also announced the discovery of 51 new cases of coronavirus, more than doubling known cases in Massachusetts for a total of 92 cases.

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