Decisions to cancel various events in our area due to the COVID-19 coronavirus are being made at lightning speed, yet no one wants to address the big elephant in the room: the annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. At least not yet anyway.

Mayor Jon Mitchell has endorsed Governor Charlie Baker's decision to deep-six the remainder of the school year and pull the plug on the prom and commencement exercises for the Class of 2020. Mitchell told me he cannot say with any certainty whether classes should resume in the fall. Yet he has not decided whether to cancel the Feast, which attracts tens of thousands from all over the world to the Madeira Feast Grounds in late July.

The annual Taste of the South Coast has been nixed. The Memorial Day Parade has been scratched. The Cape Verdean Independence Day Parade in July has been mothballed and the Zeiterion has cleared its summer schedule. None of these events comes remotely close to attracting the types of crowds that the Feast draws. But no one is willing to say out loud that the Feast ought to be canceled.

The mayor did say on my Tuesday program that he has concerns about the Feast going forward as planned but says there is still time to decide. I suspect Mitchell is giving the Feast Committee a chance to make the call on its own rather than appear to be the heavy by canceling the event.

Common sense would suggest that if it is not safe enough for several hundred seniors to march across a graduation stage at Walsh Field in June, it would be equally as unsafe for tens of thousands of revelers to pack the feast grounds.

The Feast should be canceled.

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Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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