PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — St. Patrick’s Day is two months away and for some local business owners, the holiday is a reminder of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first shutdown of their restaurants.
In Peoria, it’s a day where people can watch the annual parade or visit Irish bars and restaurants. But in 2020, that didn’t happen.
“Hopefully it’s going to be better than last year,” said Pat Sullivan, owner of Kelleher’s.
Sullivan says he’s uncertain but hopeful that restrictions will be lifted in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
“We’re hoping to return to normal, whatever that means anymore. But, hopefully, we can have tents out, tents are legal, and we will be limiting how many people we can have come through,” said Sullivan.
As of now, Sullivan say he has no concrete plans for the holiday celebration and is being cautious with any plans after last year’s event was canceled.
“We had purchased all the food, all the liquor, all the beer, tents. It was devastating, just thousands of dollars,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan says he won’t make a decision about any event until a week or two before.
Another local tradition is the Peoria St. Patrick’s Day parade. Chairman K.C. Murphy says right now, it’s still too soon to tell if it will happen.
“We don’t have enough information yet, we may not know for another few weeks,” said Murphy.
He says there are many factors that could decide whether the parade happens.
“It’s not up to us, we need to have permission from the state, a permit from the city, and an insurance policy to be able to host the parade,” said Murphy.
Last year’s 40th annual parade was canceled four days before it was set to happen, with organizers saying everyone’s health and safety was their priority.