Going out for St. Patrick’s Day? London’s police, mayor urge revellers to reconsider amid coronavirus concerns

The city’s police, mayor, and deputy mayor are urging the public to think twice about going to any St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Public health officials are urging people to avoid large gatherings and to practise social distancing to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We’re concerned that any gatherings may risk the spread of the virus to people in attendance,” said Const. Sandasha Bough, “as well as their family friends and first responders.”

That message was echoed by Mayor Ed Holder and Deputy Mayor and Councillor Jesse Helmer in a joint statement issued early Monday evening.

“Choosing to gather together to celebrate presents considerable risk,” their statement reads.

“For the young and for the old in our community, for those whose immune systems may be compromised and for those who may have underlying health risks, we are saying very bluntly — don’t do it.”

Going out to celebrate, the pair say, also puts increased demand and risk on first responders and health care workers “who are already being challenged to provide care to those in the highest need in our community.”

Bough said police are equipped with personal protective equipment and will be taking additional precautionary measures.

“Whether you’re calling 911, whether you’re attending headquarters, there are a number of non-intrusive questions that are being asked with respect to how you’re feeling, if you’ve travelled outside of the country, and if you’ve been in contact with anybody who could potentially have COVID-19. Those questions will be passed on to the first responders prior to their attendance.”

Police are also expecting smaller crowds simply due to the fact that, with Western University and Fanshawe College classes moving online for the rest of term, many out-of-town students have likely returned home.

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