SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- San Luis Obispo bars were able to hold St. Patrick's Day celebrations on Wednesday with several health measures in place.
It was a much different story than last year, when bars were prohibited from selling alcohol on the popular drinking holiday, forcuing many of them to close for the day.
At McCarthy's Irish Pub in downtown San Luis Obispo, the longtime business was full of smiles and laughter after opening at noon.
"We love it!" said customer Mark Hughes. "I'm so happy to be here at McCarthy's, having a beer because it's St. Patrick's Day and I'm going to have fun!"
While there was plenty of traditional green worn by a majority of customers, this was certainly no ordinary St. Patrick's Day.
Like all other businesses, a number of modifications and restrictions were in place.
Management said it was limiting capacity to only 60 people, all of whom had to consume their beverages in the outside area.
Customers were only allowed to go inside to place an order.
Other familiar safety precautions were being firmly followed, such as mask wearing and social distancing.
"It's all outside," said customer Meredith Macdonnell. "You wear your mask when you're not at your table. I came with only one friend. We can still celebrate while still accommodating Covid restrictions because it's still important."
Several other bars were also open on St. Patrick's Day, allowing those over the age of 21 to spend the holiday participating in a traditional "bar hopping" experience.
"It's so important to get stuff open back up again," said Hughes. "I think and I'm so appreciated that things are and that we're going to be back on track."
In preparation of St. Patrick's Day, the City of San Luis Obispo made a concerted effort to inform the public to be responsible during the holiday to prevent the potential for COVID-19 transmission.
It also participated in a coordinated outreach with Cal Poly to educate students on the importance of following safety measures.
The City said the multi-platform outreach included:
- Posters distributed to Cal Poly buildings and Downtown SLO businesses
- Digital media distributed to Cal Poly, Cuesta College and Downtown SLO businesses
- Targeted social media messaging
- Distribution of information and materials to apartment complex managers and property management companies
- Meeting with Downtown SLO food and beverage businesses to discuss indoor limitations and outdoor guidelines while in the State’s Red Tier.
In addition, the San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Police Departments increased patrols over the past weekend and will also increased patrols on March 17 to enforce violations of the Safety Enhancement Zone.
The City said the "The Safety Enhancement Zone," which has been in effect since April 7, 2020, doubles the fines for violations for noise, unruly gatherings, open alcohol container, public urination and violations of public health orders including gatherings that violate those orders.