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St. Paddy's Day festival canceled over health concerns

Posted at 7:50 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 00:04:31-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — This has been an unlucky Friday the 13th for the organizers of the annual St. Patrick's Day Block Party in downtown Corpus Christi.

The event scheduled for tomorrow is one of many that have been canceled because of worries about coronavirus.

City manager Peter Zanoni said the city's goal is to minimize any type of exposure to coronavirus, using advice issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

"Every minute, every hour, the situation with coronavirus is unfolding," he said.

The CDC has suggested that local and state officials cancel or postpone large gatherings.

Zanoni said one of the reasons for the cancellation is the challenge that could come in tracing the source, should someone eventually be diagnosed with COVID-19.

"In the event that somebody does come here and participate in a group gathering, what we have to do -- health officials trace who they came into contact with," Zanoni said. "And, so, if you have a large group of a lot of people, it's going to be hard to trace who was exposed to this person."

"The virus, the doctors are telling us, now actually lives longer than what they thought on surfaces." Zanoni said. "So you can have a lot of hand-washing stations, but you can’t clean everything. The 5K run had over 500 people registered, and the estimates on the Chaparral Street St. Patrick's Day Festival is an excess of 20,000."

The impact reaches beyond those who wanted to attend the celebration.

The festival organizer said there were around 75 vendors, businesses, and bands involved in the event. The canceled event could cause a financial hit for many of these businesses.

"We’re working with the state and federal government," Zanoni said. "There maybe options of those types of assistance. In the case of a private business holding a event, we’re not canceling or postponing those. We recommend they reconsider and consider the health issues that could come along with that.“

"Being city officials and leaders, we would be irresponsible if we didn’t do something like this." Zanoni said.

Zanoni said the city is looking at events two weeks at a time to determine whether they need to be canceled or not.

We spoke to president of the Buccaneer Commission earlier Friday. He said right now, they're moving forward with Buc Days, but monitoring the situation.

There are lots of other cancellations because of COVID-19 fears. For a full list click here.