Chicago’s annual river-dyeing and St. Patrick’s Day parades have been canceled, however inexperienced beer and Irish whiskey nonetheless flowed Saturday in River North, the place a whole bunch flocked to rejoice regardless of officers’ pleas for “social distancing” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
People wearing festive shades of inexperienced, leprechaun high hats and shamrock headbands lined the bars and golf equipment scattered all through the Near North Side neighborhood. Inside, companies have been full — however not too crowded.
“With the virus going around, we’re taking care to make sure we don’t have too big of crowds in here today,” mentioned a bouncer outdoors Celeste, a nightclub at 111 W. Hubbard St.
The bouncer, who declined to share his title, mentioned Celeste additionally stocked up readily available sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, which have been positioned all through the nightclub for everybody to make use of.
Down the road, a bunch of associates ready to get into The Boss Bar handed round a flask of whiskey and a bottle of hand sanitizer. They chased every shot with a pump of sanitizer to disinfect their fingers.
“I’m not about to put my life on hold because this is going around,” mentioned Kyle Thomas, who mentioned he was a nurse from Colorado who flew in to rejoice St. Patrick’s Day together with his Chicago associates.
Thomas mentioned he had deliberate the journey to Chicago months in the past, and though he was “taking the coronavirus seriously,” he wasn’t about to cancel plans.
“I’m being careful, I’ve got my hand sanitizer, and I’m washing my hands,” Thomas mentioned. “So much has already been canceled and we might be overreacting.”
Meanwhile, at a Saturday information convention saying 18 new circumstances of coronavirus that introduced Illinois’ complete to 64, Gov. J.B. Pritzker scolded the throngs of younger individuals who ventured out to occasion.
“We need you to follow social distancing guidelines too,” Pritzker mentioned. “You can have the unintended tragic effect of spreading COVID-19 to others who are more vulnerable.”
A River North bartender who requested to not be recognized mentioned she had blended emotions in regards to the festivities.
“St. Patrick’s Day is our busiest day of the year, so all the servers here have been worried about this virus affecting our tip money,” she mentioned. “But on the other hand, I don’t want to get sick or have an outbreak in our restaurant because of days like this.”
She mentioned her managers have been on the fence about whether or not they need to cancel their St. Patrick’s Day occasions, however in the end determined to not as a result of “we need the money.”
“I’m trying not to think about the virus, but I am scared,” she mentioned. “I don’t get health insurance through my job because I don’t work enough hours, so I better not get sick here.”
Caroline Lake was additionally involved. She had paid $39 upfront for a River North pub crawl, however reached out to its organizers late Friday to ask for a refund.
Lake mentioned she was being a “smart citizen” by heeding the recommendation of the governor and public well being officers to steer clear of giant public gatherings. But as of mid-day Saturday the pub crawl was in full swing and he or she had not heard again from the organizer, an organization referred to as Promo Se7en.
“They should be thinking about the greater issues here,” Lake mentioned. “They’re adding to the problem.”
Representatives for Promo Se7en didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark, however the firm posted that the occasion would occur as deliberate with no refunds for ticket-holders who change their thoughts.
“Although, the City of Chicago has canceled the dyeing of the river and the St. Patrick’s Day parade, our event will continue as planned,” Promo Se7en acknowledged. “As stated in our event details below, the event ticket is not connected with any city events. Our event will go on regardless if any city event is canceled, rescheduled or postponed.”
“All venues will be taking extra precautions for public safety. Please remember to wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose when needed and please do not attend if you’re sick. We encourage everyone to have fun, be safe and look out for each other.”
Before midday a number of miles north in Wrigleyville, each sidewalks outdoors bars alongside Clark Street between Roscoe and Addison have been filled with revelers, a lot of them carrying the inexperienced T-shirts of one other pub crawl.
A hand sanitizer station was arrange on the sidewalk, however hardly anybody was utilizing it.