Three of New Orleans’s most popular Irish bars have announced they will voluntarily close for St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday, March 17, in a bid to prevent crowds and unofficial gatherings at their establishments. Tracey’s Restaurant and Bar, Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, and Parasol’s Restaurant and Bar, all of which typically host some of the city’s largest St. Patrick’s Day block parties, will be closed for the holiday.
While the city increased indoor capacity for bars and restaurants last week, officials also made a point to address St. Patrick’s Day block parties and parades, reiterating that both remain prohibited under state guidelines. The owners of all three businesses say they’re closing out of an abundance of caution, to prevent a situation where they are unable to control or limit crowds and end up in violation of COVID-19 guidelines.
Last year, the city canceled the annual Irish Channel parade days before St. Patrick’s Day due to the pandemic, though crowds still gathered at typical destinations as businesses remained open. It marked the first time police were called to break up crowds gathered outside of bars in violation of COVID-19 guidelines, with the focus on Tracey’s. Months later, Tracey’s was issued a citation for crowds on the first day bars that serve food could reopen amid the stay-at-home order. The city briefly shut Tracey’s down in September, after photos circulated on social media drew the attention of officials.
City leaders this week added new St. Patrick’s Day guidelines for restaurants and bars; according to WDSU, restaurants can only stay open until 9 p.m., earlier than the current 11 p.m. closing time, while bars can remain open until midnight. Molly’s at the Market, a popular bar in the French Quarter and another St. Patrick’s Day destination, have announced their to-go window will be open and serving frozen Irish coffees all day Wednesday.
This past weekend on Sunday, March 14, the Algiers Irish Club passed out free food to those in need at the Old Point Bar, in lieu of their normally highly-attended “Friendship Day” St. Patrick’s Day celebration and parade.
There’s still plenty of food available at the Algiers Irish Rebels & Friendship Club and Algiers Shamrock Society “Friendship Day” drive-thru food distribution. No documentation is required. Just stop by the corner of Olivier and Patterson in Algiers Point. Please #Retweet pic.twitter.com/NDk4jBWx69— Kristin G. Palmer (@kristingpalmer) March 14, 2021
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