The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has closed schools, temporarily shuttered businesses and canceled major festivals, but the latest event to be affected by the virus has truly devastated ice cream lovers.
On Tuesday, Ben & Jerry's announced it will cancel its annual Free Cone Day for the first time ever.
Typically, Free Cone Day occurs during the second week of April every year. The international celebration happens in almost every Ben & Jerry's scoop shop around the world and it's been a company tradition for more than 40 years.
On this magical day, from noon until 8 p.m., the chain gives out as many free cones as customers' desire. Needless to say, it's something people look forward to for many months.
This will be the first time the Vermont-based creamery has ever postponed the event without setting a new date.
“This year, some of our scoop shops in communities around the world will be unable to take part in Free Cone Day due to precautions put in place by local governments around large public gatherings, considering the increasing presence of COVID-19,” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement. "To stand in solidarity with ice cream lovers everywhere, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Free Cone Day this year."
The creamery added that it hopes to "reschedule" the global event later this year, but did not provide additional details on when that day might come.
"Our scoop shops remain open as usual and ready to serve up your favorites," the statement concluded.
Eating ice cream has in no way been linked to the coronavirus, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people to avoid large crowds. Free Cone Day often attracts massive lines outside of Ben & Jerry's scoop shops, so the measure isn't unprecedented.
Still, ice cream fans across the country couldn't hold back their emotions.
Until Ben & Jerry's provides additional details to fans, if you're craving something sweet and cold, it's probably a good idea to stock up on your favorite pints at the grocery store.
They won't be free, but at least you can host your own cone day at home.