St. Patrick’s Day meets social distancing: How people are celebrating amid the coronavirus outbreak

A lone reveler marks St. Patrick's Day by walking down Dublin's parade route after the annual event was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

What does St. Patrick’s Day look like in the age of social distancing? Subdued — but not entirely unfestive. With the coronavirus outbreak and restrictions on social gatherings taking effect, event organizers around the world, from Dublin to Chicago, canceled their annual parades and parties. (Well, almost — in New York City, organizers of the city’s canceled parade bucked the trend by gathering anyway to “preserve our 259-year history.”)

Elsewhere, self-isolating and social-distancing folks have found creative ways to keep March 17 merry. Irish actor Chris O’Dowd of Bridesmaids and The IT Crowd fame shared videos from fans of their private celebrations, many of whom used the hashtag #HouseParade. Irish broadcaster RTÉ also encouraged viewers to stage “virtual parades.”

The festivities haven’t been limited to homes and driveways. In the town of Stradbally, Ireland, employees at the local Supervalu supermarket grabbed watermelons, Irish flags and, yes, toilet paper, for an in-store parade aiming to counteract the “doom and gloom.”

Others showed off their (safe) Irish step dancing skills.

Meanwhile, Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys, famed for their rousing anthem “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” opted to cancel their long-running St. Patrick’s Day gig in Boston in favor of a live-streamed concert in light of coronavirus concerns.

For the latest news on the evolving coronavirus outbreak, follow along here. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.

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