The city of Boston has cancelled all parades and festivals “this summer, up to and including Labor Day on September 7, 2020,” to help stem the spread of coronavirus, the government announced on May 8. Road races, concerts, even flag raisings are prohibited. “No one will be issued a permit by the City of Boston for a public event that could draw a large crowd.”
“While we’re planning a healthy reopening and an equitable recovery process, I know this announcement will be disappointing to many residents and organizations that look forward to these events each year,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a prepared statement. “This is a hard public health decision, but it’s the right one. I encourage people to rethink their events, and thank them for their work to inspire us, and help our communities get through this difficult time.”
The city began cancelling major public events on March 10 when the mayor announced that the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade planned for March 15 in South Boston was cancelled.
“This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy,” Walsh said then. “While the risk in Boston remains low, this situation is changing very quickly and we are closely monitoring any local cases. Our top priority is preventing any new cases, to the best of our ability, and we are paying close attention to guidance from public health officials.”
Boston has since faced one of the major pandemic outbreaks in the United States. And additional public events were cancelled or postponed, including the 2020 Boston Marathon, which has been rescheduled from April 20 to Sept. 14.
“The City of Boston encourages organizers to host events through virtual means, such as the 24th Annual 2020 Mother’s Day Walk for Peace, which has transitioned into a virtual walk-a-thon,” the government announcement read.
“Our Mother has been battling COVID-19 for over two weeks on a ventilator in the Boston Medical Center SICU,” Mother’s Day Walk for Peace founder Tina Chery wrote on Facebook on May 7. “The same unit she retired from on November 8, 2011, after working there for 40 years. Working in the SICU taught our Mother to plan and prepare. She always said, ‘Anyone who loves their family will write down their wishes before they die so their family does not have the burden of disagreeing while making final decisions.’ Our mother was always clear with us and her grandchildren that if she ever gets sick, she does not want to live on a machine. After two weeks of her being on the ventilator, after the team at BMC had done all they could do, we knew what we had to do. On Thursday May 7, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., we honored our Mother’s wishes by removing her from the ventilator and transferring her to comfort care. Our Mom took her last breath at 2:04 p.m. surrounded by her family.”
The city of Boston’s announcement added that “The Boston Symphony Orchestra will not be holding a live performance of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4. Instead it will present, on television and online, A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes, in honor of front-line workers and all those who have lost their lives to the health crisis. City of Boston events that will move to a virtual option include the Donna Summer Disco and Gospelfest.”
Pictured at top: Boston Pride Parade, June 9, 2012. (Greg Cook photo)
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