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‘A little piece of normal back’: St. Patrick’s Day celebrations return to Halifax

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WATCH: St. Patrick’s Day celebrations returned to Halifax on Thursday for the first time since 2019. As Graeme Benjamin reports, patrons and pub owners see it as another sign of a return to normal. – Mar 17, 2022

Matthew Bellefontaine couldn’t get to The Old Triangle soon enough the morning of St. Patrick’s Day.

“I got here around 4:30 a.m.,” he said, standing outside the renowned Irish pub Thursday morning. “I kept the seat warm.”

Bellefontaine has been a regular at the Triangle on Saint Patrick’s Day, showing up dark and early for at least 12 years. The only years he didn’t were the last two, when bars were forced to close because of the pandemic.

“It’s nice to have a little piece of normal back,” he said. “Things have been slowly getting there, but this feels right.”

Read more: St. Patrick’s Day parties and celebrations set to return as experts urge caution

In the hours that followed, a few dozen more — young and old — joined Bellefontaine outside of the pub to try and get one of those coveted seats inside.

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“Well I’m actually off so I thought, well, I usually come out every St. Paddy’s Day, so let’s get at it,” said one patron waiting outside.

“(We’re here) so we could all collect leprechaun coins,” said Crossan Inch, one of the few children in line.

“They were on our back deck and yard and front yard.”

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St.Patrick’s Day is back at The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse – Mar 17, 2022

Last year, The Old Triangle decided to close its doors on St. Patrick’s Day, which is typically one of the busiest of the year. At the time, Brendan Doherty said they planned to come back bigger and better in 2022.

Even though they still aren’t able to operate at full capacity, Doherty says this a good first step.

“It was great getting here at 6 a.m. and seeing 30 for 40 people standing outside,” said Doherty. “It was really nice to see some familiar faces again.”

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As it stands now, bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at 75 per cent capacity while maintaining a physical distance of two metres as much as possible between people at different tables.

There is a maximum of 25 people allowed per table and wearing a mask is required, except when you’re seated while eating or drinking.

Read more: ‘It hurts our staff’: Halifax bars react to new early closing-time measure

But that’s all set to change on Monday, when the province is expected to lift all COVID-19 restrictions.

Doherty says he’s looking forward to getting back to normal.

“We can all agree it’s been pretty terrible for everyone,” he said. “Obviously restaurants have been exceptionally hard hit.

“It’s been along two years. It’s been awful, but we’re really looking forward to what’s to come.”

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