More than 25,000 people from all across the country were expected to run 13.1 miles through the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan Sunday. But due to growing concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus, New York Road Runners, the organization that hosts the race, called off the event.
“It is a difficult time in the city right now, a difficult time everywhere and we need to respect that,” said Chris Weiller, a spokesperson for NYRR.
NYRR says the difficult decision came after days of deliberation, trying to adjust plans to alleviate crowds. This comes after the governor and the mayor asked New Yorkers to avoid large gatherings. NYRR says canceling the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon was the safest option.
“Ultimately, we determined all the resources we needed to make this happen just weren’t going to be able to come together to do it the way we thought it had to be done,” said Weiller.
Runners are being offered a refund of their registration fee or guaranteed entry into next year’s race.
The NYC half is the latest big event to be cancelled or postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders both cancelled campaign rallies and the popular music festival Coachella in California was postponed until October.
Locally, the New York Auto Show pushed back their event until the fall.
“For 120 years, ‘the show must go on’ has been heavily embedded in our DNA, and while the decision to move the show dates didn’t come easy, our top priority remains with the health and well-being of all those involved in this historic event,“ the president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association said in a statement.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson postponed his State of the City address.
“I did that out of an abundance of caution. I did not want to put anyone at risk,” said Johnson.
But on Broadway the show must go on.
The theater says it is monitoring the situation, but they are not changing what they are doing.
Except ticket prices, those will be discounted for the next few weeks to encourage people to get to shows.
It is unclear if any future large scale events will be cancelled. No word yet if next week’s St. Patricks day parade, one of the largest in the world will step off as planned.