NEWARK, NJ — The Newark Saint Patrick's Day Parade will not march through the downtown of New Jersey's largest city this Friday, its postponement announced amidst a rising tide of anxiety and apprehension about the surge of the coronavirus pandemic around the world, as well as being part of the increasingly stern measures meant to stem its spread.
“After careful consideration, and in the best interest of our participants and attendees, the 85th Annual Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be postponed due to the current coronavirus situation," said Brian M. Lowe, the publicity chair of Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, in a statement issued Wednesday night. "While disappointed, we are actively working to reschedule the event in September, billed as the 85th and-a-halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Details on the event will be released at a later date.”
The postponement of the Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade comes in the middle of a week of dramatic and rapidly changing developments arising from the escalating coronavirus crisis.
Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency across all 21 New Jersey counties on Monday, hoping to bolster the availability of resources in the event of a broader outbreak of the virus officially called COVID-19. The announcement signaled the state's first-ever public health state of emergency. State officials confirmed the first coronavirus death on Tuesday — a 69-year-old man from Bergen County.
The Newark parade announcement came shortly after President Donald Trump announced that the United States would temporarily suspend all travel from the European Union in an Oval Office speech on Wednesday evening. Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, with over 100,000 cases reported worldwide.
The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. now tops 1,000, with the death toll rising to 37 nationwide, while at the same time dramatic fluctuations in the financial markets continued.
The deferral of the Newark parade came on the same day that New York City, Jersey City, Morristown, and West Orange made the same moves in response to the widening regional, national and global health crisis.
The Newark St. Patrick's Day Parade, established in 1936, is the oldest of its kind in New Jersey. The parade, once the only St. Patrick's Day celebration in the Garden State, was the wellspring for the rest of the parades that eventually expanded throughout the state to smaller cities, then subsequently the suburbs. The Newark parade has long been a focal point of Irish-American pride in the state's largest city as well as all of New Jersey, celebrating the achievements of a people who fled hunger and oppression in their homeland, then played their part in making the American Dream real.
One of the many groups that march in the parade is older than the parade itself: the Ironbound Irish-American Association, which was established in 1934.