Dover’s St. Patrick’s Parade, public library affected by coronavirus

A sign taped on the front doors at the Biggs Museum gives notice of its temporary closure on Friday in Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — St. Patrick’s Day is normally a time reserved for revelry and celebration and everything colored green.

However, much of the hullabaloo surrounding next week’s St. Patrick’s Day events around the city of Dover are being muted — including Friday’s cancelation of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Marketplace scheduled for March 21 — due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition, the Dover Public Library will be closed as of today through April 27, though it could open sooner.

Kay Sass, director of public affairs and emergency services for the city of Dover, said the city is following the guidelines placed by Gov. John Carney’s State of Emergency declaration that was issued on Thursday advising against gatherings of 100 or more people.

Ms. Sass said the city of Dover has pulled the permits for gatherings that fall under that category.

The most immediate events that are affected include an Alexander RV Show to take place at the Dover Mall starting today, a St. Patrick’s gathering scheduled next week at Fordham and Dominion Brewery, Dover’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled for next week and an International House of Prayer event slated for Legislative Mall from March 27-29.

“I hope people realize this is something that we simply cannot prepare for,” Ms. Sass said, about the coronavirus outbreak. “There’s really just nothing you can do except try to keep people safe and have them realize that this is a fluid situation.”

Tina Bradbury, economic development and operations manager for the Downtown Dover Partnership, said she understands the health issue the city and state is facing.

“Sorry for any inconvenience this causes and we thank all of those impacted for their understanding and cooperation,” she said.

As for the closure of the Dover Public Library, the facility will go through an extensive cleaning as well as structural and site-line improvements to aid in public safety while its doors are locked.

“With the COVID-19 virus, and the need for these improvements, we have decided to combine the items and get it all done at the same time,” Dover City Manager Donna Mitchell said. “Our goal is to have the project completed and open back up to the public by April 27th.”

All events scheduled at the library have either been postponed or canceled.

Library patrons may call to renew materials Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. until further notified. Customers can also continue to drop off materials through the materials drop and visit the website at https://dover.lib.de.us/.

Individuals with questions may contact the library at 302-736-7030.

The Biggs Museum of American Art at 406 Federal St. also announced it was closing its doors as of Friday given the threat of coronavirus spreading.

“We at the Biggs Museum of American Art will keep it simple. We care about you,” the Biggs Museum wrote on social media. With an abundance of caution, effective (Friday) we will be temporarily closing the galleries in an effort to protect the health and safety of our patrons and staff. With that, all public and private events will be on hold until further notice.

“We will contact those who have registered for upcoming programs directly. At this point, it is premature to predict a date when we will return to business as usual, because the situation is still in early stages.”


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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