Coronavirus pushes Ben & Jerry's to postpone 'Free Cone Day' for first time in 41 years

It hopes to hold the event later in the year

Ben and Jerry's is postponing its annual Free Cone Day this April due to fears of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, saying it hopes to hold the event later in the year.

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In the meantime, its scoop shops will remain open as normal.

Since 1979, the Vermont-based company has held Free Cone Day, when it hands out over a million scoops of free ice cream around the world. It's the first time the event has been postponed.

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"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," the company's website explains.

The ice cream connoisseur made the "difficult decision" to postpone the event in order "to stand in solidarity with ice cream lovers everywhere."

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Free Cone Day started in Vermont as a way to thank customers for the support they showed during its first year of business in a renovated gas station in Burlington.

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The virus causes a disease called COVID-19, which has taken a foothold in countries around the world. To date, there are at least 118,162 cases of the virus around the world. At least 4,290 have died due to the outbreak.

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