SAN DIEGO — Wednesday’s move into the red tier coincides with St. Patrick’s Day and business owners in San Diego are hoping to bring in the green.
“We are going to celebrate on St. Paddy's Day - whoo hoo,” said Susie Austin, The Field Irish Pub manager.
She manages the Irish bar and restaurant on 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter and said there’s a silver lining about moving to the red tier on the holiday.
“It's like a double celebration. We get to celebrate the fact that we're coming out of the darkness out and into the light,” said Austin.
Last year, the holiday fell on the day bars and restaurants had to close indoor service. Police were out doing enforcement checks and educating employees about the closures.
“This time last year we had to close down, and it was heartbreaking,” said Austin.
Unfortunately, some businesses have closed including The Dubliner Irish bar and restaurant on 4th Avenue.
But revelers see hope and wanted to come out early and support the surviving businesses ahead of potential crowds.
“We have priorities which is work tomorrow so we started early today,” said Michelle Kapoor.
Under red tier rules, bars that do not serve food cannot open and neither can nightclubs.
Restaurants can only seat inside at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, and customers must remain at their table.
“Still distancing and wear your mask but when you are done dining it's one of the safest places,” said Sissie, a customer at The Field.
Despite some of the rules being relaxed, the traditional Gaslamp Shamrock party was canceled for the second year in a row.
The Gaslamp Quarter Association said during the pandemic 5th Avenue has been closed from Market to L Street on Wednesdays and will stay the same on St. Patrick’s Day.
A spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department said they will have extra enforcement conducting DUI patrols and although San Diego is in the red tier, they want people to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day responsibly.