Bars, restaurants in SWFL look for a positive St. Patrick’s Day after last year’s bust

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News

Bars and restaurants are looking for luck on St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday after shutdowns overshadowed the holiday last year.

One year ago, bars were cleared out and forced to shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. For restaurants, capacity was capped, and seating was ordered staggered.

Businesses left those memories behind them for 2021 St. Patrick’s Day.

In Cape Coral’s entertainment district, people were out and about, but it was not overcrowded.

Owner of some of the more packed restaurants are happy they’ve got at least a chance to cash in on St. Patrick’s Day. They lost out big time a year ago.

Instead of shutting down, they’re welcoming as many people as they can with masks or no masks.

Business owners we spoke to told us , if you’re going out to celebrate the holiday, you know what you’re getting into.

“I get a lot of calls. A lot of people like it. A lot of people het it,” said Ozzie Morrobel, the owner of Buddha live in south Fort Myers. “But we got to do what we gotta do. We have employees. We have great staff that has to be kept employed, ourselves. We have to keep functioning. We have to keep living life.”

“We do have it spaced out, and people shouldn’t worry,” said John Giaquinto, the owner of Duval Street. “A lot of the vaccines are going around. I know people want to take that, but we do want to take the proper precautions. Everybody wears gloves. We’ve been doing more than the CDC has even before COVID came out.”

Dr. Larry Antonucci, the CEO and president of Lee Health, understands the temptation of celebrating the holiday. He warns we’re still in a pandemic. He asks we keep wearing our masks and keep social distancing a little while longer. Maybe by summer, we can get back to enjoying holidays like this without all the risk.

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