As thousands of people head to the beaches for spring break or to local breweries and pubs to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Dr. Cynthia Morrow with the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts urges people to use caution.
“It’s only preventable if we continue to follow these community mitigation strategies — the physical distancing, the mask wearing — until we have the data to say it’s okay to remove the masks,” said Dr. Morrow. “And we are not there yet, we are not there yet. The greatest risk for us to delay that announcement that we are all looking forward to is in social gathering prematurely.”
Dr. Morrow discourages major St. Patrick’s Day social gatherings, saying it’s not worth the risk of going backwards with the progress made.
Meanwhile, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations continued in downtown Roanoke this weekend, despite the fact that the city’s annual holiday parade and shamrock festival were canceled for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the change, businesses were determined to bring in crowds with special deals and extra seating.
Many people showed up on Saturday, March 13, pleasing bars and restaurants, as well as local shops.
One Roanoke business owner says her two stores say a big jump in sales, so she hopes more celebrations can be planned for the future.
“I had my girls down here. We even had a runner, back and forth from shops that, you know, could help out if, you know, one shop got busier than the other,” said Katy Newberry, the owner of GypsyPalooza too and Artsy June. “And it kind of came in waves. So I think some people went, got something to eat and something to drink, shopped a little bit, went and got some more. So yeah, it was good. We had a great day.”
While celebrations continued well into the night, an officer with the Roanoke Police Department says crowds weren’t too rowdy. Only three 911 calls were made in the downtown area from 10 p.m. on Saturday to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 14.