Mercury staffers marched in 2019s Pride parade.
Mercury staffers marched in 2019's Pride parade. MEG NANNA

The annual Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade has been postponed this year in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The event, usually held in June, is being delayed indefinitely. Pride Northwest, the non-profit that hosts it, said in a press release sent Monday morning that it was "was not an easy decision to make."

"In a world already filled with difficulty for LGBTQ+ people, we know all of the ways that Pride is important to our people," the statement continues. "We also know the role we can and should play in ensuring the health and well-being of our community. At this moment in time, this is our priority."

Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown banned Oregonians from taking part is large public gatherings. While that initial ban is supposed to end in April, public health experts believe people will need to practice social distancing for months or even a year in order to mitigate COVID-19's impact.

In a separate email sent to Pride sponsors on Monday, Pride Northwest Executive Director Debra Porta wrote that Pride's delay—and the widespread economic impact of the coronavirus—would take a financial toll on the organization.

"As a 501c3 charitable organization whose primary revenue is generated from the fees and donations generated by the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade, Pride Northwest is facing a difficult road ahead," she wrote.

Porta added that Pride Northwest will look for ways to continue supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including sharing information through its "digital resources."