HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – The Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been postponed.
The decision came down late Thursday afternoon after the parade committee met with Hilton Head officials and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office to discuss what’s best for the community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a very, very huge event. It was a very big decision on the town’s part,” said Hilton Head Mayor John McCann. “We did it with full support of the sheriff’s office.”
Officials say safety is the biggest reason for the change of plans, to make sure first responders are available and not burned out focusing on one event. About 30,000 people were expected to come out to the event.
“Keeping the firefighters safe, the EMS safe, town employees safe, and if there is an outbreak of some sort between now and the next couple days, they have to be there to take care of them and be able to respond and not worry about the extra people we would have in town,” said Alan Perry with the parade committee.
Committee members and town officials say they’re disappointed for everyone on the island, especially local businesses and long-time paradegoers, but it was a decision that had to be made.
The committee hopes to find a new date for the 37th annual parade in the near future once everyone can be safe and fully enjoy the festivities.
There are no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Hilton Head or Beaufort County.