SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced Tuesday morning during his weekly COVID-19 address that the city will not host a St. Patrick’s Day parade this year.
The mayor said the decision was made due to the current COVID-19 trends and the impact of the pandemic on the city.
“Frankly speaking, without a statewide mask mandate, and with conflicting rules from our state that don’t require universal, science-driven precautions to be mandated by private businesses, we cannot do St. Patrick’s Day safely in its present form,” the mayor said.
Johnson says this past holiday weekend was telling of what could happen if the city moved forward with St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
“If we could not manage this over the holiday weekend, how could we possibly manage St. Patrick’s day?” asked Johnson.
Revenue from St. Patrick’s Day weekend is often a saving grace for businesses weathering the slow winter season.
Molly MacPherson’s is no exception.
“The service industry is definitely going to be hurting. There’s a lot of people that are out of work, there’s a lot of people who had to shut down their businesses,” said Randy Erikson, assistant manager of the Scottish pub.
“A lot of the mom and pops just weren’t able to hang on, and we are probably going to continue to see people closing out,” he added.
Erikson said COVID-19 restrictions forced them to cut hours, limit their menu, and have overall slowed down business.
“It’s painful to watch some really cool places and some really awesome people lose everything they have,” said Erikson, “even some of the bigger places are hanging on by a thread.”
Johnson said the city decided to continue the moratorium on events in Savannah through March.
This will be the second year in a row that the city will not host the popular event.
“I’m hoping and praying this is the last time I have to make this kind of announcement,” said Johnson.
Statement from Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee:
We understand that the City of Savannah is not issuing any special event permits through March 2021. As a result, we will not have the 2021 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade. While this is disappointing, we are confident in the City’s decision. Our top priority has always been to ensure the health, safety and welfare of parade participants and attendees.
After the 2020 parade cancellation, we were hopeful for 2021 and we had applied for the special event permit. Over the past several months we have continued to work with the City of Savannah during the permitting process and now we need to be united in doing what is best for our community. Since the first Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1824, there have been extraordinary times when we had to cancel the parade, and this is unfortunately one of those times. Going forward, we commit to keep you aware of our future plans and we appreciate the community’s understanding and support.John Fogarty, General Chairman, Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee
Mayor’s full COVID-19 press conference: