Washington — The White House has called off this year's Easter Egg Roll as public health officials across the country implement new measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The annual event, which takes place on the South Lawn, was scheduled to take place April 13, but was canceled "out of an abundance of caution," the White House said.
"The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now," first lady Melania Trump said in a statement. "I deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short-term to ensure a healthy country for the long-term."
The first lady urged Americans to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state officials.
The spread of the coronavirus, with more than 3,700 reported cases in the U.S., has led public health officials to prohibit large gatherings. Major sports leagues including the NBA and NHL have suspended their seasons, and some of the country's largest cities and states have shuttered schools, bars and restaurants.
The CDC issued guidance Sunday recommending gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.
According to the White House, the Easter Egg Roll dates back to 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. There was a lapse in egg rolls from 1917 to 1920 and again from 1943 to 1945 due to World War I and World War II. There were also no celebrations from 1946 to 1952 because of food conservation and construction at the White House.
This year's egg roll would have been the 142nd.