It came as no surprise that due to concerns of exposure to the coronavirus that is ravaging its way through New York City, the yearly “Celebrate Israel” parade expected to take place in June has been canceled along with all other June parades, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday.

“It’s not a happy announcement, but it’s one we have to make,” he said.

The festivities, scheduled for June 7, have taken place since 1965. Originally on Riverside Drive, marchers now walk down Fifth Avenue with more than 40,000 participants, including thousands of Jewish day-school students, according to its website.

Michael Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which organizes the parade, was quoted by JTA saying that organizers are working on a virtual event to take place on the same day, a Sunday.

“We’re saddened by the necessity of canceling this parade,” said Miller. “Its absence on Fifth Avenue will be notable, but its absence in the hearts of New Yorkers, Jewish and non-Jewish, who support Israel is incalculable.”

De Blasio mentioned the “Celebrate Israel” parade, the New York City Pride March and National Puerto Rican Day Parade as staples of New York City culture that must be temporarily suspended to protect public health, assuring that “they will be back. That joy and that pride that all of these events bring will be back.”

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.