With some pandemic changes, Philadelphia-area businesses celebrate St. Patrick's Day

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's no secret that Saint Patrick's Day is a big night for bars and restaurants in the Philadelphia region. It was only a year ago that the celebration was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, businesses were ready to celebrate with safety precautions in place.

From the green mimosa tower to the corned beef sliders and green beer, "Set" in Philadelphia's Northern Liberties neighborhood isn't just ringing in Saint Patrick's Day, but also marking a busy day in the service industry since the COVID-19 shutdown.

"Last year we were supposed to open before St. Paddy's Day and that didn't happen. So it means a lot. It's a big day for us. It's like Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Eve. Big money day," said John Barry, the general manager of Set.

For the businesses that survived the last 365 days, they have a busy night ahead with obvious pandemic parameters in place.

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Kildare's in West Chester, Pennsylvania was ready to celebrate this Saint Patrick Day.

Kildare's in West Chester, Pennsylvania was also celebrating early.

Last year, the establishment was only open for takeout due to the pandemic shutdown.

Reservations began at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Live music started with John Byrne, playing and singing behind plexiglass.

SEE ALSO: Top 6: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Philadelphia

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Jessica Boyington has the Top 6 picks for a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day celebration.

"It's one of my favorite days to work for sure," exclaimed bartender Xana Lindsay.

Lindsay added, "It's great to see everybody."
"My St. Patrick's Day tradition is sitting right at that spot at this bar every St. Patrick's Day since Kildare's opened," said Kevin Daniel Maggs of West Chester.

Bar service is not allowed yet, so Maggs could only sit at a high top table near that spot at the bar.

This year, there are obvious precautions in place, including lower numbers.

"I see a lot of social distancing. The tables are separated, a lot of people wearing masks when they walk around, and it makes me feel like I'm safe," said Travis Barron of West Chester.

"I felt it was important to get out this year, just to show everybody it's safe to come out," added Bill Monteith of West Chester.

With more restrictions easing by Easter, there is optimism in this celebration.
The festivities are a bright spot in what's been an otherwise difficult year.

"It's really been hard to deal with, but I'm lucky, I feel very fortunate, so I'm not complaining; but for a lot of folks, it's been really, really tough," said Lisa Ehrgott of Exton.

"I feel absolutely wonderful to be here again. Last year was such a sad time, but in 2021 we need to be able to express our joy to be out here again," said George Ehrgott of Exton.

SEE ALSO: Pennsylvania restaurants, bars to see some pandemic limits lifted in April
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Gov. Tom Wolf will expand more business and event capacity limits and lift a raft of long-standing coronavirus restrictions on bar service starting on Easter Sunday.

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