Coronavirus: Renegade revelers in Georgia hold own St. Patrick’s Day parade after cancellation

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. — Forget about coronavirus concerns. These revelers in Georgia believed they had the luck of the Irish on their side.

Hundreds of people walked and rode in an unsanctioned Irish Heritage Parade in Tybee Island on Saturday, hours after the event was canceled over health concerns over the coronavirus, The Savannah Morning News reported.

The rogue parade went forward despite the health emergency declared by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday and despite the concerns of Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions, who did not participate in the event. Tybee Island’s municipal website announced the cancellation of the parade at 11 a.m., but by 2:30 people were lining up on the city’s main street.

>> Georgia governor declares health emergency

“Unfortunately my efforts to get council’s support to withdraw the permit for the Irish Heritage Parade have been unsuccessful. Although the governor has now declared a state of emergency, their decision to move forward with the event is unchanged,” Sessions said in a statement posted to Tybee Island’s official municipal website. “Due to the circumstances that have evolved, I cannot support or participate in the parade. I will continue to work with the city manager and staff to protect the safety of our residents and visitors, and encourage everyone to be cautious and follow the suggestions of health professionals.”

The event’s cancellation was posted on a digital billboard near the parade route, but that did not stop residents dressed in green from gathering to watch.

“We’re always going to be Tybee strong no matter what, and were going to support local businesses," Jennifer Rentires, who attended the parade, told WSAV. “We’re just going to enjoy the day, it’s one big block party here at Tybee.”