Coronavirus Fears Kayo Morristown St. Pat’s Parade

MORRISTOWN – The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a big deal here. And for nearly 30 years, the second Saturday in March has meant a gala procession through this historic town, thousands jamming the sidewalks and many more continuing the festivities at any number of the town’s watering holes.

But not this year.

Saturday’s scheduled parade was canceled Wednesday afternoon because of coronavirus fears.

A statement said the decision was made by all relevant parties, including the Parade Committee.

At this writing, there are 15 coronavirus cases in the state, but that number is expected to climb. Two people, in fact, are being quarantined for possible virus exposure at Morristown Medical Center, sources said.

At first, Mayor Tim Dougherty planned to impose – or at least recommend – an age test. Knowing that the virus impacts older people more than younger ones, the mayor earlier this week publicly urged those over age 60 to stay away from the parade. Others were encouraged to attend.

For a mayor with a classic Irish name, this creative approach was quite the sacrifice. Dougherty is 61, so by his own edict, he’d have to stay home. He said he planned to do precisely that

But by Wednesday afternoon, the age-test gave way to a blanket cancellation.

The list of those disappointed has to include many local and state politicos, who always enjoy marching and waving to the crowd. The fact that many spectators don’t know who some of them are doesn’t seem to dull their enthusiasm.

Last year, for instance, Gov. Phil Murphy showed up in appropriate attire for the holiday. He was greeted in the parade’s “shape-up” area behind town hall by a guy waving a musket.

That was then-Assemblyman Michael P. Carroll who normally marches with a Civil War re-enactment group. Murphy, who probably didn’t recognize Carroll right away, was a bit fazed, but carried on.
This year, a special guest, according to local Republicans, was going to be Rosemary Becchi, the party’s preferred congressional candidate in the 11th District.

The statement said a bit vaguely that another type of parade is “in the works” for late summer.

Back in 2010, the parade was postponed due to heavy rain. It was eventually held in April. There was still a lot of green around, but it just didn’t seem the same.

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