The rapidly spreading new coronavirus is already taking its toll on Americans — and residents of the Flower City are now being encouraged to wait out the worst from the comfort of their own homes. With major holiday events and public school courses both on the cancelation list, it’s an eerie feeling for a city that normally has no shortage of things to do.
The cancelation of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and related festivities was a tough blow for many Rochesterians who were eager to celebrate all things Irish (including whiskey and Guinness). Although the U.S. police force is expected to increase by an estimated 41,400 people from 2012 to 2022, the Rochester PD presence wasn’t needed in the way it’s always been. Concerts, traveling theatrical productions, home and garden shows, upcoming Easter events, and even the Mayor’s Ball had to be outright canceled or postponed for dates yet to be determined. Local libraries have been shuttered and expos have been shut down. And even though officials might have been hopeful that canceling St. Paddy’s merriment could cut down on the 15,000 car accident injuries that happen nationwide each year due to drug and alcohol use each year, many Rochesterians could still be found in bars and at house parties — ignoring concerns about social distancing.
But since the second local case of COVID-19 was confirmed and all schools in Monroe County were declared closed until further notice, residents are paying a bit more attention. Rochesterians joined the throes who lost their minds trying to stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer. And while some were still harping on the cancelations, declaring that the media had swept everyone into an unnecessary frenzy, it’s clear that most are in favor of these seemingly drastic actions. Although 93% of children have seen a doctor in the last year, most people don’t want to risk having to go to the hospital for complications from the newest coronavirus. Now, all bars, restaurants, gyms, and other facilities throughout New York State are set to close Monday evening to impede the spread of the virus.
It might not be fun to see your favorite seasonal event be on that cancelation list, but it’s truly for the greater good. Once Rochester is in the full swing of festival season, residents will probably be glad they decided to stay home in March and April.