Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Despite state coronavirus recomendations, Clare businesses move forward with Irish Festival

The City of Clare has canceled all city-sponsored events that are part of this weekend’s Irish Festival because of the coronavirus.

But some local businesses have said they will have a festival anyway.

State health officials are recommending the cancelation of events with over 100-people in the interest of protecting public health.

Officials said community mitigation strategies are crucial to slowing the transmission of the virus.

But Greg Rynearson, with Cops and Donuts, said just because the government is shutting down doesn’t mean businesses have to.

“Everything is open in Clare,” he said. “The only thing that is being affected is the government and what better thing than to have a celebration without government interference?”

Rynearson said he expects a couple thousand people will attend the event.

“We’re looking at everything here rational so we’re looking at the biggest St. Patty’s party here ever in Clare. All of the businesses are open, and we have a lot of entertainment, food, drink and everything.”

Rynearson said he thinks coronavirus fears are overhyped and people should just make sure to wash their hands a lot.

As of 4pm Wednesday, 36 people have died nationally from the virus.

Local health department officials referred us back to the city for comment.

Officials with the Doherty Hotel in town confirmed there were only a few cancellations and nothing out of the ordinary.

Clare city manager Ken Hibl said he sees the business community’s move to go ahead with the festival as them “making the best of a very bad situation”.

“They’ve put the responsibility now on the public as individuals to determine whether or not they wish to participate in those activities. And we’re fortunate to be in a country that allows us to make those decisions, those choices, and so it now becomes an individual decision”.

Hibl said visitors should read the state’s recommendations for protecting themselves against the coronavirus and make a decision for themselves.

“And if you chose to make that decision the potential is there. How great is it? I can’t tell you. But it is there.”