no freebie

No Free Water Ice: Rita's Postpones Spring Giveaway Due to Coronavirus

Spring arrives just before midnight Thursday, but don’t head to your local Rita's, as the annual first day of spring water ice giveaway has been postponed due to coronavirus precautions against large gatherings

A hand holds up a cup of green water ice from Rita's Italian Water Ice

What to Know

  • There will be no free Rita's Italian Ice event Thursday.
  • The water ice favorite postponed the first day of spring giveaway as a precaution due to the spreading coronavirus outbreak.
  • No date was given for when people can expect to grab a free cup of water ice.

A favorite sign of spring won’t be happening this year due to the coronavirus outbreak as Rita’s Italian Ice has postponed its first day of spring freebie planned for Thursday.

“In light of the increasing concerns around COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the precautionary risks associated with large gatherings, Rita’s is postponing our annual Free Ice Giveaway to celebrate first day of spring,” Rita’s said in a prepared statement.

Thousands of people normally turn out for the giveaway – a part of the fabric of the Philadelphia region’s calendar.

“It’s our favorite day of the year, and one that has become a treasured tradition,” Rita’s said. “However, the health of our community and guests is our highest priority."

The water ice (and custard) company that started in Bensalem, Bucks County, in the 1980s now has more than 600 locations worldwide. Locations remain open for takeaway, the company noted, but you should check your local store’s hours before you head out for a water ice break.

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