Massachusetts politicians’ stale jokes are the latest casualty of the coronavirus outbreak.
Following the precautionary cancellation of Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the accompanying breakfast gathering Sunday in South Boston was also nixed as the cases of the contagious disease rose this week in Massachusetts. State Sen. Nick Collins, the host of the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, announced the cancellation Monday night.
“While I am disappointed we won’t be able to celebrate with the annual St Patrick’s Day Breakfast this year, it is clear that this is the proper decision based on the advice of experts
As recently as Monday morning, the live-broadcast breakfast was reportedly proceeding as planned. And after two consecutive years at smaller venues, the joke-and-music-filled event was also scheduled to return to the Boston Exhibition and Events Center, where the decades-old roast had been held for the previous 13 years. The light-hearted event has traditionally been a forum for local leaders and politicians — from state lawmakers to top officials, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker — to commemorate the holiday and try out their best stand-up routines before the day’s main event, the South Boston parade.
However, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday evening that the parade, which has drawn more than a million spectators, was being canceled “out of an abundance of caution” as the city works to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“The best way of trying to prevent the spread of it is by not having large groups of people together,” Walsh said during an appearance Tuesday morning on WEEI, adding that the decision — made with local lawmakers and parade organizers following calls from local health experts — wasn’t something they took “lightly.”
“You have 1.1 million people coming into a neighborhood that it’s very easy, potentially, to spread the virus and it’s pretty dangerous,” he said.
As of Monday, there had been one confirmed case of coronavirus in a Boston resident and eight presumptive positive cases, in which the residents were being monitored and self-quarantined. State officials have confirmed 41 cases across Massachusetts. Walsh said Tuesday that he expects that number to rise.