VANCOUVER -- St. Patrick’s Day will be much quieter this year than most, at least in Vancouver.

Due to growing concerns about the COVID-19 virus, Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s office said all bars and restaurants in the city will be ordered to remain closed on Tuesday.

At first, the order came for restaurants in the downtown core only. But by Tuesday, the order was expanded to the entire city.

COVID-19 is transmitted by tiny droplets that infected people emit when they cough or sneeze, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Those droplets can potentially end up in the mouths, eyes or noses of others who are healthy.

News that St. Patrick’s Day is being cancelled in Vancouver followed just hours after B.C. health officials announced a new ban on gatherings. 

"Given that the Government of British Columbia has now limited the size of public gatherings to 50 persons, it is only prudent that we require restaurant and bar operators to cooperate with efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer, Dr. Patricia Daly in a news release. 

"We understand this is may pose a financial hardship for operators, but the seriousness of the health care challenge that COVID-19 presents to our community cannot be underestimated."

The advice from health officials has already prompted numerous closures of businesses, services and attractions in the city, including all locations of the Vancouver Public Library, the Vancouver Art Gallery and Science World.