VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - March 17 is one of, if not the biggest, days of the year for Jason Janezeck and others at Keagan's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Virginia Beach.
“We've been cutting corned beef for days, cooking cabbage [and] anxiously are awaiting 6 a.m. tomorrow,” Janezeck, Keagan’s general manager, told News 3. “We want to have St. Paddy's Day. We're committed to the health and well-being of the community.”
It’s a change from last year when the pub decided not to hold their annual celebration due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic was literally not even weeks old,” Janezeck said. “We felt like the safest thing to do at that point was to close.”
But this year, good times and safety are at the forefront.
At Keagan’s, preparations for St. Patrick’s Day this year include removing more than 100 bar stools and many tables, separating tables farther apart than standard guidelines and spreading out their entertainment from Wednesday through the weekend.
Another unique feature of their celebration this year is a take-home option, allowing you to take out food and drinks to celebrate at home.
“We wanted to give the opportunity for people to not feel the need to try and get out,” Janezeck said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the safest way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in 2021 is by gathering virtually, with people who live with you or outside and at least six feet from others.
The agency also recommends outdoors is safer than indoors if you plan to celebrate with others.
Meanwhile, Janezeck is expecting a fairly good turnout this Wednesday.
“I think we're going to do about half of what we would do on a Paddy's Day, which is better than last year, which was zero,” he said.
Either way, he and others are ready for a sea of green and to raise a glass to St. Paddy's Day in 2021.
“We would rather make less money and make it a safe enjoyable environment for everyone and be more of a marathon than a sprint,” Janezeck said.