Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade to go on as planned despite coronavirus concerns

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The Chicago River will still run green Saturday as city officials say the weekend fesitivities celebrating St. Patrick's Day will go on as planned.

The downtown St. Patrick's Day parade will step off at noon Saturday along Columbus Drive between Balbo and Monroe streets, according to the city's website. Chicago has one of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the nation.

The decision comes as other cities such as Dublin and Boston have canceled St. Patrick's Day celebrations due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. Illinois has 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

"While there are no plans to cancel St. Patrick's Day activities or other large events planned at this time, the City of Chicago is actively monitoring conditions and will recommend additional strategies as needed to prevent the spread of the virus," Melissa Stratton from the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications said. "We have convened large event organizers—including parade operators—and will continue to refine our citywide COVID-19 response plan in consultation with partners at the CDC, IDPH, and CDPH to ensure an operational plan is in place to protect the health and safety of our residents and visitors." 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker also made a “disaster proclamation” Monday that was needed to officially put Illinois in a state of emergency, which gives the state access to state money and possibly federal reimbursement for the costs of fighting the potentially deadly illness.

Chicago Plumbers Local 130 will be dyeing the Chicago River at 9 a.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, the 42nd annual South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade will step off at noon.

Click here to check out full instructions for attending the city's downtown St. Patrick's Day activities.