There were no long lineups or crowds in downtown Halifax on Tuesday morning, making for a conspicuously quiet St. Patrick’s Day.
The Old Triangle, a St. Patrick’s day institution in Nova Scotia’s capital city, was decked out in green banners, with a sign at the door wishing visitors a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day (Sort Of).”
Several Halifax bars, including the Old Triangle, announced on Monday that they would hold St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in May in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Despite plans to open at 11 a.m., the restaurant’s doors will remain shut until further notice.
“I gotta say, this is probably going to go down as the worst Paddy’s Day ever,” said Brendan Doherty, co-owner of the Old Triangle.
“We’re just coming to terms with laying 50 people off. It’s a hard morning.”
The decision is in response to the provincial government’s recently announced preventive measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Premier Stephen McNeil and health officials announced Sunday that businesses must practise social distancing by keeping patrons two metres, or six feet, apart and limiting gatherings to no more than 150 people.
That’s meant countless coffee shops, bars and restaurants changing their business models or closing their doors altogether.
Bill Pratt, CEO of the Chef Inspired Group of Restaurants, has announced that all of the company’s restaurants — which includes Cheese Curds, Habaneros, Pon-Zu, Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse and Studio East — will be closed for at least the next two weeks.
“The following decision has not been made lightly by any means,” said Pratt in a statement.
“I believe that it’s very important that we take a leadership role and proactive approach for the overall health of our employees, guests and community.”
Even national chains are responding, with Tim Hortons moving to a takeout and drive-thru only approach amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
The restrictions on gatherings will remain in effect until further notice.
— With files from Global News’ Ashley Field
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