St. Patrick’s Day looks a little different this year: empty bars without celebrations or green beer.
“We just didn’t feel like today is the best day to have a big group gathering,” said Daniel Ford Beavis, co-owner of O’Shea’s Irish Pub in Saskatoon.
In light of social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, pubs across the province cancelled St. Paddy’s Day plans — a tough decision for the co-owners of O’Shea’s.
“It’s the first time in my lifetime not really celebrating St. Patrick’s Day the way of getting together with a whole bunch of people,” said Jay Beavis, O’Shea’s co-owner.
“It was a difficult decision for us, but I think it was the right one.”
Even though the owners missed out on their busiest day of the year, the food prepared for O’Shea’s annual Irish brunch didn’t go to waste. They donated 100 plates worth of food to Saskatoon’s Friendship Inn.
“People on the street that might be not as fortunate, they’re going to get that food,” Beavis said. “We’re very proud that we’re able to do that in the face of a little bit of difficulty.”
Sorry We’re Closed
Kelly Cairns, co-owner of The Cure Kitchen + Bar in Regina, typically serves a packed restaurant on Tuesdays at lunchtime. But instead, she’s helping her staff apply for employment insurance.
“Once we know everyone has an income coming it and it’s going to be OK to close, that’s when we’ll make the decision,” Cairns said.
A decision many restaurants in the province are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic: not if, but when to close their doors.
Currently, The Cure is trying to limit its orders to takeout and delivery only, although it is still serving the odd customer that comes in.
Leopold’s Tavern announced Monday its Western Canada locations are closing indefinitely.
“Like everyone, we are taking this day by day and hour by hour and will continue to do all we can to take care of our people and to reopen soon,” the pub said on its website.
Cathedral Social Hall locations in Regina and Saskatoon also shuttered for the Irish holiday. In an Instagram post, the restaurant said the plan is to reopen March 18 at 11:30 a.m.
“Knowing that things are changing rapidly we may have to reassess,” said Cathedral Social Hall in the post. “Going forward, we’ll continue to take every extra precaution and prioritize our seating plan around social distancing and public safety.”
As more people continue to stay at home, John Hopkins, Regina and District Chamber of Commerce CEO, said these temporary closures could lead to restaurants going out of business.
“In many cases, these businesses are relying on customers that are not showing up,” Hopkins said.
“At the end of the day, the economy runs on transactions and if we’re seeing less and less transactions of one form or another it’s going to impact the economy,” Hopkins said.
“If it impacts the economy, it’s going to impact individual people.”
The Capitol in Regina announced Monday it’s closing its doors for good, pointing to “a struggling economy” and “growing concerns over public safety due to COVID-19.”
Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
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